Initial management (first 48 hours) to acute injury responds well to the P.R.I.C.E. principle. Tissue injury usually causes damage and bleeding within the tissues and blood vessels – the signs of which are pain, inflammation, swelling, redness, heat, decreased range of movement at the associated joint, and decreased function. The P.R.I.C.E. management protocol is below.
Protect the injured structure from further injury/trauma. This may mean the use of crutches and rest/avoidance of aggravating factors.
Allows the healing process to continue, unhindered by stress on the injured area or increasing energy demands that may divert blood supply away from damaged tissues.
Causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels) therefore decreasing the accumulation of unnecessary blood supply to the area. This limits the bleed and helps prevent any increase in the swelling around the effected tissues and so decreases the chance of accumulating any unnecessary scar tissue. Ice should not be applied directly to the skin and should be done for no more than 15-20 minutes every two hours.
Produces a counter pressure to help decrease swelling. Should not be too tight! 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.
Decreases local blood pressure and blood supply to the injured area, therefore decreasing swelling.
REMEMBER Do No H.A.R.M.