How to quickly and effectively manage your acute injuries.

Managing your injury

The best way to prevent more damage is by following the Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (RICE) and no Heat, Alcohol, Running, Massage (HARM) regime which should be commenced immediately where possible. After following RICE – it’s important to do no HARM.

For specific injury treatment it is important to obtain an expert physiotherapy diagnosis from an experienced physiotherapist at Richmond Physiotherapy Clinic.

RICE

Rest

  • Immobilise the injured area.
  • This may involve using a splint, a sling or even crutches.
  • Reduces the amount of small vessel bleeding, tissue damage and allows quicker recovery.
  • You will need to rest the injured body part until your Richmond Physiotherapy Clinic Physio advises you otherwise.

Ice

  • Apply to injured area for 15-20 mins every 2 hours for the first 48-72 hours. You may need to continue this for longer depending in the advice from your Physio.
  • Reduces blood flow, swelling, pain, muscle spasm and prevents any secondary damage to the area.

Compression

  • Apply a firm wide compression bandage including above and below the injured part.
  • Leave on at all times for the first 48-72 hours.
  • Remove for application of ice.
  • Causes blood vessel constriction reducing bleeding and swelling. Your Physio will advise you when you can reduce the compression required.

Elevation

  • Reduces the swelling and small vessel bleeding in the area.
  • Where possible, it is important to elevate the injured limb above the level of the heart at all times.
  • This can be achieved by propping your limb up on pillows when seated or lying, or using a sling for upper limb injuries.

Do not apply ice directly to skin (it may cause a skin burn) and be careful when using it on children as they have a lower tolerance. Careful when using ice on people with circulatory problems and those who are sensitive to the cold.


HARM

Heat

  • Avoid hot baths / showers, hot water bottles and liniment rubs in the first 48-72 hours.
  • Heat increases blood flow to the region – increasing the swelling.

Alcohol

  • Alcohol has a similar effect on the body as heat.
  • Increases swelling by dilating your blood vessels.

Running

  • Any form of exercise too soon is detrimental to the healing tissues.
  • Blood clot / haematoma formation may be compromised – blood flow will increase to the region and healing times will be longer.
  • Your Richmond Physiotherapy Clinic physio will advise you on a suitable return to exercise program for your individual recovery.

Massage

  • Massage performed over the affected area will increase trauma and swelling in the area.
  • Oedema massage performed by a qualified physiotherapist reduces the swelling and small vessel bleeding in the area.