Compression Therapy

Written by Devin Flanigan
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Compression is an important part of most soft-tissue injury rehabilitation as it aids enormously in reducing swelling and forcing harmful fluids to be reabsorbed into the bloodstream. By adding gentle pressure on all sides of an affected area, constriction of the blood vessels is achieved, which reduces the flow of fluids that inhibit healing. Compression also adds stability and comfort to tender joints and muscles.

Compression can be achieved quite easily by the application of an elastic bandage in a gentle spiral, starting away from the heart and working up towards it. This encourages the reabsorption of the waste materials into the bloodstream. There are also many compression braces designed for every joint of the body, as well as more generic kinds that can be applied anywhere.

Compression and Elevation: Perfect Together

When dealing with an acute injury, combine compression with cold therapy and elevate the affected limb so it is above the level of the heart. This makes it harder for harmful fluids to pool at the point of injury. After 20 minutes, remove the source of cold and reapply gentle compression in the form of cotton padding surrounded by an elastic bandage.

Compression braces can be worn when returning to activity to limit the range of motion and provide much-needed stability to a healing joint. This prevents aggravating the injury and may need to be continued even after full healing has taken place. Compression of easily injured joints can be just as useful as a preventative measure as it is a curative one.

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