During the initial stages of injury the procedure for treating soft tissue injuries follows what is known as the ‘PRICE No HARM Guidelines’. Price stands for Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
Generally the earlier the ‘PRICE No HARM Guidelines’ are started the shorter will be the rehabilitation period. Where possible the procedure should be started at the place where the injury occurs. A delay of several minutes may add days or weeks to the rehabilitation time. Here’s what to do: -
Protect the injured area from further damage. Be aware that the injured area needs to guarded against further movement by whatever means are available to you.
Rest. Stop what you’re doing. Then the decision can be made as to whether or not to continue. Avoid ‘Running it off’.
Ice. The area for 12 – 15 minutes every 2 hours. In the case of small limbs or structures close to the surface, reduce this to 5 – 10 minutes every 2 hours. Use whatever you have to hand that is cool but ensure that ICE doesn’t go directly on the skin as this is likely to cause a burn. Wrap it in a wet cloth first!
Compression. Apply a support bandage, which should be removed at night, to the area to assist in the reduction of swelling. In the case of a limb try and cover as far as possible above and below the injury site.
Elevate the limb to a level above the heart. (In the case of a fracture make sure the fracture has been sufficiently well supported prior to doing this.)
H No Heat, such as hot baths, saunas, heat packs or muscle sprays e.g. Ralgex or Deep Heat.
A No Alcohol, this will increase bleeding and swelling and decreases healing.
R No Running, or any other exercise that could cause more damage to the injured area.
M No Massage, at or near the injury site which may increase bleeding and swelling.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury and is a necessary part of the healing process. Without inflammation the body would not repair!
Sometimes however, the inflammatory response may be excessive. In these circumstances the use of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s) such as Ibuprofen MAY help but you should be aware that there is conflicting research in relation to these types of drugs and their effect on the healing process.
This conflict is reflected in The NHS National Library for health Clinical Knowledge summaries web site advice (4th October 2012) which states….
Oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also help to reduce swelling and inflammation. However, NSAIDs should only be considered for use 48 hours after the injury has occurred because if they are used before this time, they MAY adversely affect the healing process.
Applying the support bandage too tightly.
Exceeding the icing times.
Heat in any form. Be suspicious of rubs and liniments coming out of red/Orange coloured containers. The contents usually increase blood flow and are not appropriate at this stage.
Drinks containing alcohol.
Hot baths, shower instead.
Massaging the injured area.
Testing to see if it’s OK or attempting to rush the healing process – It won’t be rushed!!!!
In relation to YOUR injury, once the basics have been taken care of you are advised to follow the ‘PRICE No HARM Guidelines’ for the next; -
2 -3 Days depending on how bad the injury is. If in doubt go for the 3 days.
Apply ice In a wet towel (Never direct on the skin) for between 5 –- 20 minutes. Adjust the time depending on how deep the injury is.
e.g. The thickness of the tissue at the ankle is very small compared with that of your thigh and bottom where the flesh is quite thick.
You do this Every 2 - 4 Hours if you can,
and avoid doing any HARM which stands for Heat, Alcohol, Running & Massage
To help you there are numerous general advice sheets in this section to help you manage your injury.
If need be we can provide additional, specific advice, in relation to your injury and rehabilitation prevention as well as training and performance.
To download a pdf copy of this file Click Here