Helping our loved ones

Posted by SportsMed NQ, 3 February 2016

We often forget about how our injuries or surgeries can impact our loved ones – he’s some tips to get us through it.

iStock_000060376534_LargeWith Valentine’s Day around the corner, this article is about what your partner, parents or friends can expect when you hobble through the door battered and bruised. Unfortunately injury and surgery are a part of life for many of us. With everyone being more active since the New Year, and sporting seasons about to kick off, the number of people you know with an injury will be on the rise. As physiotherapists we always talk to our patients about what they can expect for their recovery, but we often forget how our loved ones will be impacted.

The most common things that will stop you from looking after yourself, and helping around the house, are crutches and slings – a slight limp or sore elbow isn’t going to get you out of it. Most commonly crutches and slings are used after surgery to protect repairs but are sometimes given to people to prevent the need for surgical intervention. Injuries we see that might need slings and crutches are; leg fractures, collarbone and arm fractures, ACL ruptures, bad muscle tears and ankle sprains. Thankfully these are usually only short term for a couple of weeks (except for fracture management).

We can all appreciate the inconvenience of having to look after your fully grown partner – or ‘other’ child. Helping them shower, bringing them food (why do they eat so much?),cleaning up after them and driving them to their appointments. There are a few tricks to make sure they are as independent as possible.

For people on crutches, give them a bag. When you are using two crutches you have no hands free to carry things, having a bag lets you carry things around with you. Putting food in containers with lids and using a water bottle instead of a glass will also help. Showering can also be a pain and also a safety risk. The last thing you want is for them to fall and hurt themselves more so try putting a water proof chair in the shower so they can sit and wash themselves. Most importantly, they can still help out with meal prep, folding washing etc. so don’t hesitate to give them a list of jobs, just set them up at the table. Slings are less disabling but things just take a lot longer (have you ever tried dressing with one hand?).

saint-valentines-day-candy1Your injuries have a huge impact not just on you physically but also emotionally, and your partner or support person is there with you through the whole thing and often feels really helpless not being able to do anything to help to take your pain away. So, as Valentine’s day rolls around this year and you are debating what to get them, just remember who will be looking after you when you are injured or how much you appreciated their love and support through your injury or surgery last year.

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