Whether you’re an athlete or a couch potato who hasn’t seen a gym in a while, soft-tissue injuries such as strains, sprains, and bruises can happen to anybody at any time. A weekend outing gone awry, too much time doing yard work or bent over a computer, even playing Frisbee on the beach can leave you hurting unexpectedly.
So, really, everyone should know how to properly treat soft-tissue injuries. Doing the right things in the immediate aftermath may help get you back on your feet faster.
Begin RICE immediately. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Delaying RICE could mean more pain and swelling and a longer recovery period. So start these 4 steps as soon after you’ve sustained an injury as possible.
- Rest: Reduce normal daily activities and avoid putting weight on the injured body part. In other words, stay off your feet and do not do anything that aggravates the injury.
- Ice: Use an ice pack on the injured area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time and do this four to eight times per day. Don’t use the ice pack for longer than 20 minutes, and wrap it in a thin towel so you don’t irritate your skin.
- Compression: To help reduce pain and swelling, wrap the injured body part with a bandage or brace that is doctor-recommended. Make sure it is not too snug and ask your doctor how long to wear it and how many times each day.
- Elevate: Use pillows to raise the injured limb above your heart to help reduce swelling.