How long should swelling last after an injury (and how do you decrease swelling)?

How long should swelling last after an injury

Swelling can be described as the enlargement of any bodily tissue or body part that is new or unusual. It is a normal response from the body to any type of injury. Swelling can be both good and bad, depending on the circumstances. It’s meant to begin part of the healing process. Sometimes swelling may cause pain, but usually, this pain is meant to alert a person of an injury and to keep that person from aggravating an injury further. When the swelling becomes too much, that might signal other underlying health conditions. 

If you’ve recently sustained an injury and it’s started to swell, you may be wondering how long the swelling will last after you become injured. To find out more information on how long swelling should last after an injury and how you can decrease the swelling, keep reading below.

What causes an injury to start swelling?

  • Fluid buildup — One of the main reasons why an injury might start to swell is because of a buildup of fluid. When the body realizes that it’s sustained an injury, its first response is to bring extra fluid to the area.
  • Inflammation — Inflammation is the body’s response to an injury. Inflammatory cells are sent to the site of an injury to help promote healing.

How long does swelling after an injury typically last?

It’s common for an injury to undergo the most swelling during the first few days it’s sustained. Usually, the severity of the swelling in an injury will decrease slightly after a few days, but will probably remain swollen for a few weeks after. In some cases, swelling might even be present for several months after an injury. It all depends on factors like the severity, the type of injury a person has sustained, and how well they’re recovering. If you find that your swelling is taking longer than a few weeks to dissipate, you should consider seeking a medical professional for advice.

How can you speed up the recovery process and reduce swelling after an injury?

  • Try your best to rest your injury — One of the best things you can do for an injury is to give it time to heal. If you don’t give your body the time it needs to rest, you risk aggravating your injury or preventing it from healing altogether. 
  • Make sure to apply ice — Icing an injury can help reduce how long the swelling may last. Ice packs can help reduce inflammation and pain in areas of injury, so regular periods of icing might help speed up the recovery process.
  • Don’t forget to compress your injury — Using a wrap or bandage to keep your injury compressed may help reduce inflammation and speed up the time it takes for your swelling to go away. Compression can help keep swelling down and provide additional support to the area.
  • Try to keep it elevated — If you’ve recently become injured and you’re trying to reduce some of the swelling, you may benefit from keeping your area of injury elevated. 
  • Attend physical therapy sessions — Physical therapy is a great option for those who want to reduce their swelling and recovery time after an injury. Physical therapists are a kind of health care professional who can provide you with consistent and efficient treatment options. They’ll guide you through the movements and exercises that can specifically reduce the inflammation around your injury. Not only this, but they’ll do it while strengthening and mobilizing the area, too. If you’re wondering how long your swelling will last after an injury, you should know that a physical therapist can help reduce your swelling. If you’re an athlete who has sustained a sports injury, know that PT can help you feel better and get back out on the field or court quicker.

Whatcom Physical Therapy can provide you with professional, high-quality treatment for swelling after an injury

Our unique team of passionate professionals at Whatcom Physical Therapy is equipped to handle your injury or condition. Our goal is to provide outstanding care to our community in Whatcom County, Washington. We want our patients to experience a level of care that is unparalleled. We believe that each of our patients deserves to pursue a degree of individual physical independence, whatever that might look like.

We’re proud of our up-to-date facility and innovative therapeutic technology. We believe that it helps us serve our patients to the best of our ability. Our treatment techniques are designed to promote wellness and healing; if you’re trying to figure out how long your swelling should last after an injury, we’d like to help.

Still want to know more? We’re an outpatient clinic with a concentration in orthopedic care with two locations in Whatcom County. If you’re interested, contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.