We’ve all been there…on the ground shaking off the remnants of footing from our various body parts and wondering if we need to go to the hospital or get back on our horse that’s currently lunging itself around the arena.
Before we start this blog post, let’s set the record straight and simply say this is a huge disclaimer in that we always recommend you seek medical attention immediately after a fall or injury and we, at Equestrian Wellness, are not MDs, medical professionals, etc. and therefore, are not qualified to provide any type of medical advice through this Website.
Once you’ve decided your injuries aren’t enough to send you to the hospital, you then do the usual, and put your humiliated self back in the saddle to confirm the fact that you’re a real equestrian. Later that evening, you decide it might be a good idea to hop into a hot Epsom salts bath while pondering all the ways in which you could have avoided the day’s mishap. The only problem is you wake up the next morning with a huge hematoma on your leg, arm, back, butt or wherever. That little bruise has you wondering whether it might be a good idea to seek professional help. And I always recommend you do so! If it has been determined that you simply have a soft tissue injury and time is going to be your best bet, my recommendation is to follow the RICE method which means rest, ice, compression and elevation.
We all understand the concept of RICE, including resting, icing and elevation, but sometimes the compression part can get a bit complicated if we can’t put a body part in a brace or sling. That’s when taping comes into play.
Before we start, let’s review a little history. During the 70's Kenzo Kase, MD was looking for new techniques to improve his therapies for injuries related to acute and chronic diseases. He began experimenting with different tape materials. The basic instrument for experimentation was the skin and muscle tissue. He viewed the skin as not only a barrier to the body, but he also considered it an organ with the most responsiveness or reflex. From his experimentation and understanding of how the skin and muscle tissue worked, the first Kinesio tape was born.
For those of you who are new to Kinesio tape, it’s a latex free, flexible tape that is wearable on the skin for several days at a time. Kinesio Tape has become popular in the sports industry because it’s been proven to have positive physiological effects on the skin, lymphatic and circulatory systems, fascia, muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. The magic is that the tape facilitates the body's natural healing process while providing support and stability to muscles and joints and does this without restricting the body's range of motion.
One of many benefits of Kinesio tape is that it can be applied during acute or chronic healing phases and one application of taping can last for a few days, sometimes even for a whole week. The tape can get wet and blow drying it after helps it to glue it more strongly to the skin. There are many pattern options for taping depending on the injury and joint. Here’s a reference link for how to tape various areas of the body: http://www.kttape.com/instructions/
Kinesio Tape is beneficial for alleviating pain and encouraging lymphatic drainage by ‘microscopically’ lifting the skin, thereby allowing for a decrease in inflammation of the affected area.While it is difficult to judge the urge/need to go see a doctor, a simple trick would be if you can put pressure on the affected tissue and its original function is still possible (like walking, lifting an arm, etc) you can probably get away with taping the injury.
Lastly, as we mentioned before, we always recommend seeing a qualified physician following a fall. And, if you have a fever or you don't feel well after such an injury, it could mean you have a severe infection and should seek medical attention immediately.