23 Dec Initial Injury Management
The PRICE is right!
Unfortunately injuries are common in most contact sports and the initial management is vital to help reduce the time away from sport and improve recovery. The main priority is to try and reduce the swelling that arises and any type of heat – including a hot bath, will make this worse and so should not be used in the early management of acute injuries. By controlling the swelling you give yourself the best chance of earlier rehabilitation of the affected body part and limit any potential scarring. Immediately after any soft tissue injury, use the P.R.I.C.E regime for the first 72 hours.
Consult a doctor first if there is any concern about a broken bone (fracture), dislocation, significant bleeding or head / neck injury:
PROTECTION of the injured soft tissue from further damage by the use of crutches, slings or splints
REST is required to prevent dense scar tissue. Complete rest for too long will lead to muscle weakening and poor scar tissue. The period of rest should be discussed with a medical practitioner
ICE (Ice pack / frozen peas bag) applied in a damp cloth reduces pain and swelling – apply for 20 minutes 4 times a day for 3 days
COMPRESSION can be applied by a tubigrip – preferably by a practitioner – for first 72 hrs and will prevent excess swelling and thus pain and improved range of movement
ELEVATION of the injured part above heart level for the first 72 hrs to help excess fluid drain away and reduce swelling
The injury should be reviewed by an appropriate health care professional at the earliest available opportunity for a definitive diagnosis and continuing management.
Dr Zafar Iqbal
MBBS, BSc, DCH, DRCOG, MRCGP, MSc, Dip PCR, FFSEM UK
Head of Sports and Exercise Medicine Crystal Palace FC
The information provided by Dr Zafar Iqbal is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before starting any new treatment or making any changes to existing treatment.