Pain - What Are You Really Feeling?

Pain in any shape or form is never any fun, and it's even less fun when you don't know exactly what type of pain you're dealing with and how to alleviate it. We've all been there - maybe you stepped wrong and felt a sharp pain in your ankle and thought "AHHH! That's it, I'll never walk again!" Or maybe you feel like you stretched too far, but maybe pulled a hamstring, or something else sinister.

Here we've broken down a few of the most common injuries and pains, and tried our best to describe what each might be caused by, and feel like.


Generally a fracture will be quite a severe pain and fairly constant. The pain will stop you from weight bearing through it, or carrying any weight and generally these are tell-tale signs that the injury is quite severe and needs formal assessment and treatment as soon as possible. Another sign of a fracture is if the area is very sensitive to light pressure, ice and movement. Further obvious signs of fracture are if there are bumps, lumps or ridges that can be felt/seen along the line of the bone.


A cork is blunt trauma to an area of muscle. These can be incredibly painful, causing a very achy/throbbing pain at rest and sharp pain when on stretch or during movement. Depending on the area, the cork can prevent from normal weight bearing but be able to take some weight. As well as these painful symptoms, other signs like focal bruising and sharp pain on palpation of the area should be an indication that the injury is just a cork. If the area that is ‘corked’ is in the lower limb, particularly around the knee, often times the joints can give way during walking or standing because the muscle isn’t activating properly.


These are injuries generally occurring from when a certain joint is placed in a position that is past the limit of its normal range of motion. Rolled ankles, knee injuries in contact sports are all examples of this type of injury. The ligaments connect bone to bone and give structure and stability to the joint. A feeling of pain with movement of the joint is normal with this injury and if bad enough, laxity or excessive movement at the joint are also common. Sometime the initial pain can be really severe and then completely subside which is normally indicative of a full tear (rupture) of the ligament.

DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness):

This is the feeling you get after an extra big session of exercises or when you have had a long time between exercise and you finally get back into it. When it feels like the muscles are tight, tender and fatigued but it's kind of rewarding/expected. Moving the joint that these muscles cross or putting pressure on them will increase the tenderness. DOMS generally occurs 48-72 hours after the session and eases shortly after this period, so that is a good way of differentiating from something more serious.


Who knows!?

If you are feeling any aches or pains, book in to see one of our physiotherapists today! Book online here, or call (08) 9448 2994.

**Please note - if you have any sudden or unusual pain always contact your physiotherapist or health care provider for an assessment as soon as possible to make sure the diagnosis is correct. Please do not use this guide as a form for self diagnosis and treatment.

#physiotherapy #physio #pain #injury

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