The Stages of Healing

(Tendons and muscles heal the fast, ligaments are slower because of poor blood supply, bone heals quickly when set correctly because it is in a constant state of remodelling)

1.     Inflammatory

i.            Lasts 5 to 7 days

ii.            Heat, redness, pain, swelling, loss of function

2.     Proliferation

i.            7-21 days

ii.            New scar is forming but it is only 15% as strong as normal tissue

iii.            Do not start loading the tissue until this stage is done and full ROM is acheived

3.     Remodeling

i.            3 weeks to 10 weeks

ii.            Goal is for scare to regain strength and normal alignment

iii.            Stress can now be applied through the tissue

4.     Maturation

i.            6 weeks to a year

ii.            Tissues will continue to gain strength, alignment and range for up to a year

This can vary depending on the severity of the injury and as stated above, the type of tissue. It is important to respect these stages and allow time for tissue to heal. 

5. POLICE – this has replaced PRICE. See this post for more details.

Protection – keep it out of harms way

Optimal Loading – load helps tissue heal. The load should be pain free and within the range of tissue tolerance. This will again vary depending on the injury (achilles insertional vs mid portion pain)

ICE – their is still a need for ice to help with pain and allow for certain exercises to be completed (sprained ankles)

Compression – very important in the early stages particularly when swelling is evident

Elevation – important in the early stages when swelling is evident

Physios can work with you to ensure you are following the past pathway given your specific injury. The programs and treatments are always specific to the case at hand.

Thanks for reading, yours in health

Dave Carter