Soft Tissue Injuries
TREATING THE INJURY R.I.C.E.D.
A soft tissue injury such as a sprain, strain, or bruise should immediately be treated with the R.I.C.E.D. procedure:
- Rest reduces further damage.
- Avoid as much movement of the injured part as possible to limit further injury. Don’t put any weight on the injured part.
- Ice cools the tissue and reduces pain, swelling and bleeding.
- Place ice wrapped in a damp towel onto the injured area.
- Apply ice for 20 minutes every two hours for the first 48 hours.
Firm bandaging helps to reduce bleeding and swelling. Ensure that bandaging is not so tight that it cuts off circulation or causes tingling or pain past the bandage. Bandage the injury between ice treatments.
- Elevate the injured area to stop bleeding and swelling.
- Raise the injured area on a pillow for comfort and support.
Consult a medical professional such as a doctor or physiotherapist especially if you are worried about the injury, or if the pain or swelling gets worse. If the pain or swelling has not gone down significantly within 48 hours, also seek treatment.
For a list of ACC endorsed physios click here . Injury related visits to ACC endorsed physios are usually free.
AVOID H.A.R.M. - FUL FACTORS
Once the injury has been diagnosed and treated, avoid the H.A.R.M.-ful factors for 72 hours:
Heat increases the bleeding in the injured tissues. Avoid hot baths and showers, saunas, hot water bottles, heat packs and liniments.
Avoid alcohol as it increases the bleeding and swelling around soft tissue injuries and delays healing. It can also mask the injury’s pain and possible severity, which may result in the player not seeking treatment as early as they should. If a player has a suspected head injury alcohol MUST be avoided.
Running, or exercise of the injured part, will cause further damage. Do not resume exercise within 72 hours of the injury unless a medical professional clears the player.
Massage causes an increase in bleeding and swelling and will prolong the rehabilitation process when done within 72 hours of the injury.