We've been walking on some icy surfaces in Calgary for a couple of weeks at least, and I can feel it in the muscles of your legs and hips! Apparently there is more to come through the weeks ahead...ugh.
What are your muscles telling me?
To avoid falling or slipping we tend to walk differently on icy surfaces. The shoes we wear hopefully have a better grip, but they also tend to be heavier and clumsier than our usual footwear.
Our stance, or centre of gravity should change to feet wider apart and slightly bending forward over our feet to shift body weight where we need it to maintain balance. Hands out of pockets to balance and holding handrails to catch our fall if we go down, shifts our balance as well.
We may hit an icy step and jerk or twist our body to keep from falling. Your muscles tell me all about it.
Jerking, Twisting, Falling on ice...how it impacts your muscles
None of the information provided in any way replaces your regular medical care. Your doctor should be your first stop after a hard fall, hitting your head or other serious injury.
When you jerk or twist to keep from falling it's often with relief that you haven't hit the ground, but for some reason you are sore in the following days. These jerks or twists are sudden movements that our body was not prepared for, similiar to when we're in a car accident and don't see the other car coming towards us. Muscles can become sore and stiff as a result of the twist.
When you do fall you can injure your muscles, joints and tendons depending on how you land. The icy ground has little to no give so it's similar to a fall on cement. The impact hurts where you land, but also the muscles around the area as they are jarred.
How Massage Therapy Can Help
Again, check in with your medical doctor first for serious falls to rule out breaks, fractures, concussion...
Apply ice to the area right after you fall for the first 48 hours to reduce any swelling. As the hockey mum of a goaltender I used to put a slice of fresh lemon under the ice pack. I'm not sure how it worked but the lemon would draw any bruises to the surface (which looked terrible) and they would heal faster.
After 48 hours heat will help more with the healing process as it encourage blood flow to the injured area.
Massage Therapy 2 to 3 days afterwards will first focus on pain relief and easing any swelling or fluid build up in the area. Because you're likely still sore or bruised it will be a lighter massage. Often this can also help to deter scar tissue from forming. It's also an opportunity to assess other muscles that may not have sustained impact but were jerked or twisted as a result of the fall.
Regular weekly Massage appointments afterwards will help to improve recovery and will focus more on loosening muscles that have become tight, while assisting your body's return to it's pre-injury state.