The Dreaded “Corked Thigh” – What they are a what to do about them.

I got a ‘corkie’…what should I do?!?

CorkieSo it was halfway through the first quarter and you’re playing a great game. You’ve already had 10 possessions and have put two goals on the the scoreboard for your team.

Then, during a contest you’re opponent lands on you, driving there knee into the front of your thigh.

As you stand up, you struggle to put weight through your leg and your helped off the field by the team trainer. You have been told that you have got a corked thigh, contusion or a ‘corkie’.

So what do you do now?

During the game:

It will depend on the severity of the contusion as to whether you will be able to continue playing. According to Sports Medicine Australia there are three grades of corkie. With a grade one or two contusion you may be able to continue playing. Some things that may help are:

  • Applying compression ask your sports trainer or club physiotherapist to provide you with some tubigrip or to strap the thigh up with some compression bandage. You may also benefit from having them place some padding over the area to prevent it from being re-injured.

  • Keep moving! - to prevent it from getting stiff you will benefit from keeping the thigh moving. Jump on the stationary bike and lightly pedal or walk up and down the sidelines.

  • DON’T Massage it or use Heat – You may think that this is a good idea at this stage but massage will only increase blood flow to the area which will increase bleeding.

Post – game management:

Corkies are not a fun injury. According to Sports Medicine Australia Grade three contusions can prevent some people from returning to play for a minimum of up to 8 weeks! That’s nearly half a season! There is also the risk after a quadriceps contusion of developing myositis ossificans which is where the contusion calcifies forming bone in your muscle. There are some great steps that you can take to limit your time off the field and improve your recovery.

  • ICE! - the most important thing you can do post match for your corkie! Ice will restrict blood flow to the area thus limiting bleeding. When we say ice we mean more than once after the game! You should be looking to ice the contusion for 15-20 minutes every hour for the next 48 hours with the first 24 hours being the most critical period. Ensure there is a towel or paper towel between your skin and the ice to prevent damage to your skin.

  • Compression - Ask the trainer for some tubigrip after the game or if this isn’t available put on your compression tights. Compression allows increased venous return of the blood which will help with bleeding.

  • Elevation - Keep the leg up as much as possible- this too will help with blood return away from the site of the contusion.

  • Alcohol - Stay off of the beers! Although tempting, alcohol causes an increase in bloodflow to the area and consequently more bleeding to the corkie site. Have a softie instead! This may be the difference between you playing or not playing the nextweek.

  • Don’t ‘massage’ a corkie out - Although massage can be beneficial it shouldn’t be started until at least 72 hours post injury. Ensure that the massage isn’t too vigorous as this can increase the risk of the re-bleeding or the contusion calcifying.

  • Speak to a Physio – Physios are well trained in assessing and managing this type of presentation. They can provide you with the correct treatment and exercises to ensure you spend as little time off the field as possible and are fit when you return. With a thorough examination they are also able to determine if further assessment or investigations are warranted and refer you on to the correct medical professionals.

If you would like any information on how best to manage your corkie you may benefit from an appointment with a Leading Edge Physiotherapist. You can BOOK ONLINE now, or call one of our clinics on (08) 8364 6800 or (08) 8159 1300 to book an appointment.

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