Soft tissue injuries

Soft tissue injuries are typically ligament sprains and muscle strains, tears and bruises. They should be treated using the method known as

PRICED.

Once an injury has occurred, it is of vital importance that the injured area and the player are protected from further injury. Failure to do so can exacerbate the problem and delay healing.

Protect

• Abrasions/lacerations should be covered
• The injured joint should be supported by taping or bracing
• Weight-bearing should be avoided

Rest

Adequate rest to enable tissue healing and repair is vital for any injury. Remember - if it hurts, it is probably not good for the injury. Don’t put any weight on the injured part of the body.

Ice

Application of ice to an injury helps prevent bleeding and further swelling. Regular use of crushed ice in a damp towel is helpful in shortening recovery time and decreasing pain in the interim. Apply ice to the injury for 20 minutes every 2 hours for the first 48 hours. Protection of the skin with petroleum jelly or oil avoids unnecessary thermal injury.

Compression

Compression of a soft tissue injury prevents swelling and shortens recovery time. Compression using a firm bandage is effective. Ensure that bandaging is not so tight that it cuts off circulation or causes tingling or pain past the bandage. Bandage the area between ice treatments.

Elevation

Elevation of the affected area decreases swelling and pain.

Diagnosis

Early diagnosis by an appropriately qualified health professional, and correct management are the fastest route to recovery. Consult a medical professional, especially if you are worried about the injury or the pain or swelling gets worse, or the pain or swelling has not gone down within 48 hours.

Once the injury has been diagnosed, avoid any element of

HARM

for 72 hours.

Heat

Can increase bleeding and swelling, and worsen pain and stiffness.

Alcohol

Can increase bleeding and swelling, as well as masking pain and the severity of the injury.

Rest

Rest is essential.

Massage

Best avoided as it can increase bleeding and swelling, thereby delaying recovery.