What should I do immediately after an injury?
After an injury you should immediately stop any activity that is causing pain and follow the RICE protocol. RICE is an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
• REST: Stop any activity that causes or worsens your pain.
• ICE: Ice will reduce pain and swelling. Ice as soon as possible after injury, keeping the ice on your injured area for 10-20 minutes at a time. Continue to ice several times each day for the next 2-3 days or until swelling and pain subsides.
• COMPRESSION: Wearing a compression wrap around the injured are can help reduce swelling and give you comfort. Be sure not to wrap the area too tightly or this may cause increased pain. Signs that you have wrapped the area too tightly include increased pain, tingling, numbness, increased swelling below the injured area and coldness of injured area.
• ELEVATION: Elevating the injured area above heart level will help prevent blood from pooling in the injured area.
RICE is a good first measure to stop pain and swelling. After the first few days of RICE it is often beneficial to begin a graded stretching and strengthening program to help restore normal function. This program should be set up and monitored by a professional such as a physical therapist who can help with the recovery process and ensure a safe return to physical activity.