A recent case, reported in the Medico-Legal Journal, brings to light a tragic incident where a 23-year old man with a hairline ankle fracture lost his life after his mother gave him a leg massage. It raises a big question – can a massage really be dangerous? Not in all cases, but this unfortunate incident stresses on the need to take all precautions and know about the affects of oil massages for treating muscle pain or an injury which may not be the best cure. Oil massages are generally considered to be good for your fitness and well-being but sometimes they may go terribly wrong especially in case of a sprain, fracture or an injury. A gentle massage which may be considered as an alternative form of treatment may not be safe in all cases. It can cause new injuries, aggravate the existing injury, affect the nervous system and even be fatal.
According to the report, the man injured himself while playing badminton last year in September. He was detected with a hairline fracture of the ankle and was asked to wear a cast to heal it. This led to the formation of a blood clot in the veins of his leg and therefore, he experienced pain and swelling even after the plaster is removed. Blood clots can form easily in inflamed or blocked blood vessels. Medically, this condition is known as deep vein thrombosis which is a common side effect of using plasters. It occurs when your legs are immobilized for a long time or because of dilated weak blood vessels. The most common symptoms include redness, swelling, pain and tenderness. Being unaware of the same, his mother gave him an oil massage to relive the pain which proved to be fatal.
The post mortem report of the young adult confirms that on massaging the leg, the blood clot got dislodged from the leg veins and traveled to the pulmonary artery that supplies blood to the lungs causing a blockage and instant death which is known as Pulmonary Thromboembolism. The report also indicates that the innocent mother was not informed about the complications of massaging an injured or the risk of developing pulmonary thromboembolism by the doctors who were treating the young boy.
Experts who corroborated the study have warned people not to apply pressure on areas that have been recently injured till they are completely healed and to consult an orthopaedic doctor if you experience any kind of pain or swelling after removing a plaster.