What to do if you’ve got a soft tissue injury
Written by Dr. David Howard – B.Sc. (Clinical Sci.), M.H.Sc. (Osteopathy), B.App.Sc (Human Movement) from Pascoe Vale Osteopathy located in Pascoe Vale, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
These 1st aid tips can be applied to any soft tissue injury, such as hamstring strains, pulled calf muscles, shoulder strains, corked thighs and sprained ankles.
First 48 hours
The first action to take as soon as possible after the injury has occurred is RICER – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, Referral. This should continue for at least 48 hours after the injury as occurred. RICER helps to reduce bleeding, swelling and pain in the soft tissues. It therefore makes the recovery and healing process much faster.
Rest: Keep the body part as still as possible. This prevents further damage and slows down the bleeding in the soft tissues.
Ice: Ice is very important in reducing bleeding, swelling and pain. Never apply ice directly to the skin as it can burn. Wrap the ice source in a damp towel. Ice can mean anything from a bag of peas, a cold pack or ice cubes, whatever you have access to is fine just as long as it is very cold. Apply the ice for 20 mins, roughly every 2 hours, for the first 48 hours. Avoid pain always and use discomfort as a guide as not everyone will be able to put up with icing for a long period of time. If you are sensitive to the cold, it is better to do 3-5 mins every hour than none at all.