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If you suffer a soft tissue injury such as a ligament sprain, muscle strain/tear, or contusion/cork - immediate first aid can prevent complications and help you heal faster. One of the most important acronyms to remember if you suffer a sports injury is R.I.C.E.R
When an injury occurs the damaged area may bruise, swell or bleed (externally or internally) and become inflamed. This ‘inflammatory process’ can last as long as 72 hours. Following this initial inflammatory phase, healing starts as the swelling reduces and damaged tissue is replaced by the process of ‘regeneration’.
The principals of RICER apply for the first 72 hours (3 days) after injury.
Rest is important immediately after injury to stop further damage to the injured tissue and to limit the amount of bleeding/swelling.
Ice helps to reduce the amount of swelling and bleeding, as well as reducing pain. Ice the injured area for 15-20 minutes every 2 hours. Use crushed ice or an ice pack wrapped in a damp tea towel.
Compression helps limit and reduce swelling and can also provide some pain relief. Compress the injured area with a compression bandage, compression garment/tubing or tape. If you apply a compression bandage and experience pins and needles, numbness or ANY colour change in your limb, the bandage is too tight and must be loosened or taken off completely. Remove your compression bandage for sleeping.
Elevating an injury also helps to reduce swelling. It's most effective when the injured area is raised above the level of the heart. For example, if you injure an ankle, try lying on your bed with your foot propped on one or two pillows.
Referral to a health professional is advised for further assessment and advice on injury management.
Don't forget to download the attached First Aid Cheat Sheet to pop in your sports bag or to distribute to the rest of your team.
Contact Lifestyle & Sports Physiotherapy for more advice from a Physiotherapist on (02) 46473373.