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Fundamental acute injury care – R.I.C.E.

Recreationally active people and athletes alike have the potential to experience some sort of musculoskeletal injury. This could be a ligamentous sprain or a tendon/muscle strain amongst other maladies. Regardless, there is a principle of care that may be easily followed until a qualified healthcare practitioner may provide further oversight.

This is the principle of R.I.C.E. – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

    • Rest:   Take some time away from the sport or activity. Generally a few days to a week or so should help, but if you still are having pain, or the pain worsens, then a qualified healthcare practitioner should be consulted.
    • Ice:  Application of an ice pack to an injured area immediately post injury is often a great means to help control pain and swelling; for a few days thereafter as well. Do not ice more than 10-15 minutes at any given time, waiting an hour or so between applications, unless instructed otherwise by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
    • Compression:    Using an elastic wrap or some other means of compression (e.g. an elastic compression sleeve) to an injured area will help control swelling. Follow the directions provided with the product you use or seek the advice of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
    • Elevation:  It is beneficial to raise the injured area above the level of the heart for prolonged periods of time. Doing so helps gravity assist in decreasing swelling. For example, if an ankle is injured lay down and rest the foot on some pillows. A qualified healthcare practitioner may provide further instruction.

The advice of a qualified healthcare practitioner should always be consulted; especially in the event of a serious and/or debilitating injury.

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