The acute injury is a type of injury that can be traced to one traumatic event that took place within 3 to 5 days. This type of injury could include fractures, dislocations, strains and sprains.
Following an acute injury, a rehabilitation process is necessary to help with pain management, limit the extent of the injury, reduce and improve functional loss.
The ultimate goal of a rehabilitation program is to return the individual to the pre injury physical function and assuring a proper quality of life.
The healing process following such injury consists of three phases which include the Acute, the Repair and the Remodeling phase.
Phase 1 is the Acute Phase. It starts immediately following the injury and it manifests with pain, swelling, redness and heat at the injured site. This phase could last up to 7 days. At this phase it is imperative that a proper diagnosis of the injury is given by a medical professional to ensure a correct rehabilitation protocol. The primary goal at this stage is to minimize pain and decrease the functional loss of the injured tissue.
Phase 2 is the Repair Phase, and it can last up to 6 weeks. During this phase the body starts repairing itself by laying down scar tissue at the site of the injured area. Given the fact that the new tissue is weaker and less tensile, the possibility of a reinjury is quite high at this point. Choosing the appropriate types exercises and work loads is absolutely crucial. Following the instructions of a physiotherapist or exercise specialist is very important for a successful outcome.
Phase 3 is the Remodeling Phase and it can overlap with the Repair phase. This phase can start as early as 3 weeks following the injury and could last for over a year. During this phase the regenerated tissue continues to improve in quality and strength. The rehabilitation process at this stage would emphasize regaining full range of motion and mobility, improving strength and endurance through various types of exercises and increased resistive loads and ultimately allowing for a safe return to normal physical function.