If you receive an injury during a match or training session it is important to know how to manage the injury to prevent further damage to the area and promote healing.
PRICE: this acronym stands for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
- Protection: the injured area should be protected from further injury, minor injuries can be protected by taking care not to re-injure the area if able to play on or strapping the area for support. More serious injuries, obviously, should result in being removed from play until adequately assessed regarding fitness to continue.
- Rest: it is important not to place additional stress on the injury; resting the affected limb allows the chance for healing. Aids such as slings for the upper limbs or crutches for lower limb injuries can be helpful but the need for these should be assessed by the club Physiotherapist or medical officer, or at your local Emergency Department.
- Ice: Ice should be applied for 10-15 minutes every 2 to 3 hours for the first 4 days post-injury or until pain, swelling and bruising ease; a damp cloth between the ice pack and the skin will prevent ice burn. Ice cools the area with the aim of reducing swelling and bruising as well as for pain relief.
- Compression: in the case of ankle or wrist injuries this is most appropriate, where a compression bandage, such a tubigrip style bandage may be useful to reduce swelling and provide a feeling of protective comfort to the injured limb
- Elevation: if the injured area is swollen, elevating the limb above the level of the heart, supporting it with a sling (elbow/wrist) or pillows (knee/ankle) will aid drainage of fluid causing the swelling back towards the trunk.
For the first day or two, pain relieving medication such as paracetamol can be helpful. If swelling develops then anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, can be taken from day 2-3 post-injury unless otherwise advised.
If the injured area is very painful, with swelling and/or bruising, then seeking medical advice at your local Emergency Department is advised to assess the possibility of a fracture or dislocation. For any form of injury, if the player, coach, Physiotherapist or designated first aider is in any way unsure about the severity of the injury sustained, it is advised that the player seek medical assessment with their GP or through the Emergency Department to assess the injury and therefore clear the joint for Physiotherapy treatment.