Common Injuries and How to Aid Recovery

According to a Public Health Agency of Canada report, falls are the most common cause of injury-related hospitalizations among Canadians aged 65+. 

The report cites the most common body parts injured in a fall as:

  • The shoulder or upper arm (17%)
  • The knee or lower leg (15%)
  • The ankle and foot (10%)

And the most common injuries are:

  • Broken or fractured bones (35%)
  • Sprains or strains (30%)
  • Scrapes, bruises, and blisters (19%)

If you’ve recently injured yourself, or you’re supporting someone who has, your first port of call should always be a doctor. They’ll likely give you instructions on how to rest the injured area and exercises that you can do to help the healing process and regain mobility. 

Alongside your doctor’s advice, there are other actions you can take to aid your recovery.


Recovering from a Broken Bone

  • Avoid falling and doing further damage to your injured limb by removing clutter from your home like electrical cords, loose rugs, and newspapers. You may need to ask a friend or family member for help if your injury has affected your mobility. 
  • Make sure the limb is well rested – you may need help with day-to-day activities while you’re healing. 
  • Follow your doctor’s advice regarding movement, if they’ve prescribed any exercises, make sure you do them!
  • Avoid getting your cast wet, as it won’t dry out properly, which can lead to infection. You can buy waterproof covers for your cast to use when you’re bathing, or you can try using a plastic bag and masking tape. 
  • Keep an eye on the skin around the edges of the cast and apply lotion to red or sore sports.
  • Avoid the temptation to push a pencil inside your cast when it’s itchy. These often get stuck and end up digging into you, so try blowing a cool hairdryer down the cast instead.
  • If your mobility’s been affected, discuss with your doctor or physiotherapist whether home adaptations would help your rehabilitation. These may include raised toilet seats, grab bars, bath transfer benches, or reachers, among others. 


Recovering from Strains and Sprains

With such similar names, people often think that strains and sprains are largely the same thing. However there is a difference. A strain is an injury to either the muscle or a tendon and can range in severity from overstretching to a partial or complete tear. A sprain, on the other hand, is a stretching or tearing of the ligament. 

Whether the injury is a strain or a sprain, the treatment is likely to be similar. In the first 24-48 hours, the aim is to reduce pain and swelling following the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method. 


Exactly as it sounds – take the weight off and avoid using the injured joint


Cover an ice pack with a thin towel and apply it to the site for 10 minutes, then remove for 10 minutes before reapplying. This will help avoid frostbite or freezer burn. 


Use an elastic bandage to help control swelling. Make sure it isn’t too tight causing it to block circulation. 


Elevate the injured joint 8-12” above the heart as often as possible in the days following the injury. This will drain fluid and reduce swelling.

Severe sprains or strains may require more complex medical interventions to help them heal properly, so it’s always important to see your doctor to determine the severity of your injury. Even milder injuries will likely require stretching and strengthening exercises to return the joint to full functionality. 

Having an injury when we’re older can take longer to heal than when we’re younger. It’s therefore important to closely follow your doctor’s advice, be kind to yourself, and remind yourself that it won’t be like this forever. 




General Disclaimer
This information is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.