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What we’ll cover
  1. Stage 1 of soft tissue recovery – Coagulation + inflammatory phase:
  2. Stage 2 of soft tissue recovery – Granular tissue formation (Proliferation stage)
  3. Stage 4 of soft tissue recovery – Scar tissue remodelling
  4. How can physiotherapy help following an acute injury?

What actually happens following an injury

Have you even wondered what happens to your body when you get injured? Our physiotherapist Vernon Mittal explains what actually happens when you injure yourself and how the body repairs following an acute injury.

what actually happens when you get injured

An acute soft tissue injuries include injuries such as muscle strains such as a calf or hamstring strain or ligamentous sprains such as rolling an ankle or twisting a knee. Immediately following an acute injury, the begins it’s natural healing process and healing of the injury starts.  This cascade of events is commonly portrayed to the naked eye as swelling or inflammation of which different natural healing chemicals, cells and enzymes infiltrate the affected site and begin “fixing the injury”.  This repair process is broken up into 4 overlapping stages: coagulation, inflammation, granular tissue formation and scar tissue remodelling phase.  Your physiotherapist treatment will vary depending on the nature and stage of injury recovery.

Stage 1 of soft tissue recovery – Coagulation + inflammatory phase:

Immediately after an injury, cells known as platelets travel to the damaged blood vessels and begin a chain reaction that ultimately stops excessive bleeding. During this phase, the injured site often may appear red, warm or even swollen as inflammatory cells (macrophages, neutrophils, leukocytes) infiltrate the injured site potentially causing swelling.  These body cells are the basic first step of any healing process after an injury and provide first-line protection of the wounded area.  Importantly, this process can take a few days which is where the role of acute management (RICER , NO HARM principle) becomes critical

During this stage, your physiotherapist will thoroughly assess the injury to provide a diagnosis. The primary aim of physiotherapy treatment during this stage is to reduce pain.  Treatment techniques may include soft tissue work or dry needling.  Your physiotherapist will prescribe safe exercises to continue with in this stage and where possible may also modify training or exercises.  In some cases, your physiotherapist may also use techniques such as taping or bracing to prevent further injury or harm.

Stage 2 of soft tissue recovery – Granular tissue formation (Proliferation stage)

Following the initial inflammatory stage, tissue growth factors (most notably fibroblast cells) and skin cells (deep to superficial layers) are produced.  These cells form the basic framework of the new cell matrix which allows the formation of new connective tissue.  New blood vessels are also formed (re-vascularization).  This process requires fresh blood and nutrients to proliferate the wound bed thus HEAT and massage have important roles to play in allowing the normal healing process to continue

During this stage, the primary aim or treatment is to facilitate and assist increase in blood flow and circulation to the injury site.  The use of a heat pack or hot water bottle is useful during this stage of healing. Your physiotherapist will utilise hands on techniques during this stage such as massage or joint mobilisations.  Prescribed exercises will also be changed to generally promote movement and flexibility.

Stage 4 of soft tissue recovery – Scar tissue remodelling

The final stage of soft tissue healing in reinforces the proliferation stage whereby fibroblasts continue to infiltrate the wound area and begin to re-build new and strong tissue.   At a cellular level, collagen fibres are heavily involved in this stage as they cause wound contraction (tightening of the wound) and matrix re-modelling.  The end product is to develop scar tissue or soft tissue which has the same tensile strength as the surrounding uninjured tissue.  During this phase, there is likely to be minimal to no acute or immediate symptoms.  However, it is crucial that end stage rehabilitation is completed to ensure that adequate and appropriate healing to ensure that the newly formed tissue can withstand your chosen sport or activity.  Rehabilitation that is neglected during this stage commonly results in recurrent or repetitive injury to the same site.

How can physiotherapy help following an acute injury?

Your physiotherapist is an expert at assessing and diagnosing your injury following an acute incident.  Depending on stage of healing, your physiotherapist will perform a variety of treatment options or modalities to help keep you active and injury free.

If you have experienced an acute injury, book an appointment by calling our team on 9571 6888 or book online today.


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Last week our team celebrated another great year. 

Whilst Melbourne’s weather had its own plans, we were still determined to keep with the theme of ‘Italian Summer’. We let our hair down to master the art of mixology 🍸🍹followed by an Italian feast. Friday morning Run Club with the team. Practicing what we preach!

Staying stronger, healthier and happier. This time last week, our team was nervously completing their final preparations for @melbmara . 

Congratulations to our physiotherapists and ME community who ran on the day.

Dilen and Michael completed their first marathons. Abbey and Lizzie smashed out their first half. Last Sunday, our team headed down to see our own Matt Warren win a premiership in the VAFA Premier Men’s Competition. Last week our team dedicated a full day to professional development and team building. At ME Physio we pride ourselves on collaboration to put you at the centre of everything we do. 

Our team covered the latest treatments for back pain, financial well-being and finished off the day with salsa dancing. 

Many thanks to our guests including James Schomburgk from @the2ndvisitphysio , Financial Planners Tony Vikram & Cameron Bishop and the @salsafoundation At ME Physio, our focus is on helping you get stronger so that you can keep doing the things you love.

For Tony and Joan, healthier and stronger is being able to navigate the iconic Coast to Coast Walk in the UK! We recently had the pleasure of hosting Elise Bujor from Women’s & Men’s Health Physiotherapy to discuss women’s health issues across the lifespan. 

Our team pride themselves on staying up to date to ensure you’re able to stay healthier, happier and stronger. Huge milestones over the past few weeks with both Tom and Jude from @delasallefc doing their first bit of running in their rehab. 

Tom is on the return from an ankle dislocation whilst Jude is putting in the hard work following a knee reconstruction. Last week our team enjoyed some friendly rivalry at the footy. 

With finals around the corner, some of our team can now safely make holidays plans for September. We recently had the pleasure of hosting the podiatry team from @sespodiatry. 

Our physiotherapists Michael and Abbey presented on rehabilitation following Achilles surgical repair and ankle surgery. Last weekend some of our team got together to complete the 10 km run @runmelbourne. There was no finish line picture as some were keen to run another 15 km!

Whilst running wasn’t for some - brunch was well received by everyone. Shoulder impingement can be incredibly frustrating and painful. 

Tony has been working closely with our physiotherapists Vernon and Dilen to get on top of his shoulder pain. His treatment plan has included hands-on physiotherapy and individualised exercises in our hydrotherapy and strength programs.

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