The P.R.I.C.E Injury Protocol, is an easy-to-remember 5 step protocol for acute injuries.
It is important after an injury to protect the area that has been hurt. Once an area or joint is hurt the body will respond by initiating the inflammatory process, which is how the body heals. If you then further damage that area with more activity or weight bearing through that joint the body may not be able to respond appropriately. Besides this as the tissue may be damaged, you could be more prone to further, more severe injury.
As mentioned the body starts the inflammatory process once it has been hurt. Alongside protection comes rest. If you feel you are hurt, whether it be during a netball game as you have rolled an ankle or injuring a shoulder during a tennis game it is important that you then take time to stop and let your body process the injury. Not only do you need to focus on resting immediately but also, but for as long as a week as the initial inflammatory process may take 3-5 days to fully develop. If no improvements are made Physiotherapy would be the next step for further guidance and investigations.
The use of ice, also known as cryotherapy is beneficial. The reason for using ice is to reduce inflammation and pain. With an injury the blood flow to the area will increase (swelling) and the nerve endings in that area can be on “high alert” as they act to try and minimise further injury. Ice will help arteries constrict, limiting swelling, but also depress the hypersensitivity of the nerves. So; Ice = less swelling + less pain.
Note: ensure you have a cloth between your skin and the ice to reduce the risk of ice burns, apply regularly for periods of 10-20mins.
Compression can be accomplished by using a brace or bandage that is applied slightly below, over and slightly above the injured area. A medium amount of tension should be applied, making sure you are not cutting of the blood supply completely (be able to slide a finger under the bandage to ensure it is not too tight). As well as limiting swelling, the bandage is great to provide some extra support to the area and stabilise the joint.
Elevation is important to reduce the pooling of swelling. Especially when you have an injury to the lower extremities (ie. ankle or knee etc.) perfect elevation would be when the injured area of the body is above the level of the heart- often lying down is required to achieve this.
Elevation is appropriate for as long as the swelling remains, as this will reduce swelling, reduce pain and improve your range of movement of the injured limb.
We hope these tips help you, and if you have any questions then do get in touch with one of our amazing physiotherapists!