Common injuries

Acute injury management

Soft tissue injuries are a common occurrence in sport, exercise and recreational activities. These injuries can vary in severity and type, but commonly include joint sprains, muscle and ligament injury or a contusion resulting from a blow or impact.

The early stage of a soft tissue injury is known as the acute phase and is the first 48 hours post injury. Common characteristics of this stage are pain, inflammation, swelling, redness and loss of function. The P.R.I.C.E. management protocol is below.

  • PROTECTION: Protect the injured structure from further injury and trauma. This may mean the use of crutches and avoidance of aggravating factors.
  • REST: Avoid activities that stress the injured area by causing pain to allow the healing process to continue. Gentle, pain-free, range of motion of the joints and muscles surrounding an injury may be beneficial.
  • ICE: Helps in reducing pain.  Ice should not be applied directly to the skin and should be done for no more than 15-20 minutes every two hours.
  • COMPRESSION: Produces a counter pressure to help decrease swelling and also provides extra support to the area. It should not be too tight and don’t wear to bed at night. Do not allow for any numbness, pins and needles or drastic discoloration to occur. Usually a tubigrip bandage measured to the correct size is sufficient.
  • ELEVATION: Decreases the pooling of fluid the injured area, therefore decreasing swelling.

Remember to do no H.A.R.M. You must avoid:

  • HEAT: No hot baths or showers, no adding heat to the area. Heat will increase bleeding and swelling and worsen pain and stiffness during the initial 48 hours.
  • ALCOHOL: Alcohol increases bleeding and swelling which delays healing.
  • RUNNING: Exercise increases the blood flow to the area plus can strain the injured tissues thereby making the injury worse and may delay healing.
  • MASSAGE: This can increase swelling and bleeding by essentially opening up healing blood vessels and stimulating the body to produce more swelling.

Early diagnosis, treatment and the appropriate progression of rehabilitation following an injury is vital in returning to your preferred activity or sport as soon as possible. Make an appointment with one of our highly experienced physiotherapists at Sportsmed Mosgiel Physiotherapy for further management. 


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