this tour life

injury? R.I.C.E.

March 25, 2015
by

Please note that these “emergency tips” are for muscle or joint injuries NOT blood pouring out of your body or any other heavy injuries as broken bones or stuff like that ;-)

Hello everyone,

 it is me again,

 Martina from fysio.com.

since in the last articles we talked about specific injuries and exercises, I would like to tell you what to do if you have an acute injury and there is no doctor or paramedic around.

We all know the feeling of a sprained ankle that swells up enormously in no time and you don’t know what to do with that “tennisball-looking-like” ankle.

The emergency rule to these sort of problems is called the “R.I.C.E. principle“:

Rest
Ice
Compress
Elevate

If you follow this principle, you will see that you can use your joint/leg/arm faster than usual.


 

Rest

is the most important factor. The body just suffered a mild trauma, so you need to give it some time to handle it. Try not to use the injured part of your body for at least a day. This is easier when a part of your arm is injured, then you use the other arm (and if needed put the injured arm in a sling). If your leg is injured try to not load it fully, which means if you do not have crutches around, use an umbrella or a stick or sit and roll around on a equipment box  ;-)

Ice

is important in the acute stage of an injury, the body sends fluid (swelling) towards the injured tissue. This fluid contains substances to heal your tissue. But there is also fluid that contains waste products, so in order to create space for all these fluids, the injured body-part swells up. To control the swelling and the increasing temperature (heat develops as the body tries to fix an injury) it is important to ice. If you are on the road, get some ice cubes, put them in a ziplock bag or into a small towel and leave it for a bit on the injured body part. Do not leave it there forever, since then the only effect you will get are frozen skin cells. Keep the ice around 5 minutes on your body, remove it and move slowly the injured body part. This is important, because that way, the cold gets transported into the joint and does not stay only on your skin. Repeat this a few times : icemoveicemove.

How often should you ice per day?

It depends…maybe 3 to 4 times? Depending on how warm your injured body part feels like, you can put ice more often or less often.

Compress

after you have iced the injured body part, go to a pharmacy or drugstore and get a compression bandage. They are available for all the major joints and can be really helpful in the healing process. The compression prevents further swelling and gives the joint more stability. You will see that it also gives you more confidence with moving and loading the injured joint. (Note that you should never put compression while you sleep, during sleep you do not move and could cut off your blood-flow.)

 

Elevation

will help reduce swelling and controls the blood flow. Try to elevate the injured body part as much as possible during work (e.g. sit on a chair/box and have your leg extended on another chair).

Respecting the R.I.C.E. your body will heal in no time :-)
(but make sure to always check up with a doctor or physical therapist!)


Martina Plunger
www.fysio.com


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