RICER – for soft tissue injuries

RICER (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, Referral)

One of the most important time periods in the treatment of injuries is the first 24-48 hours after the injury.   On most occasions this time will precede your physiotherapy appointment.  Below are some important steps that will begin the healing process of your soft tissue injury.

Rest – Following a soft tissue injury the first step is to stop the activity you were doing.  This is to help reduce the swelling and bleeding in the injured area.

Ice – Immediately apply ice or a cold pack to the injured area.  Ice helps to slow down the inflammatory response and reduces swelling and bleeding to the injured area.  A good guide is to apply ice for 20 minutes every 1-2 waking hours for the first 24-48 hours.

Ice can be applied in a number of ways:

  • Cold pack or crushed ice wrapped in a moist cloth
  • Ice immersion and cold water in a bucket (good for injuries to the hand and foot)
  • Cooling sprays (for short term use as this only helps superficial injuries)

Stop the use of ice if you experience any extreme discomfort or pain as you may be at risk of an ice burn.

Compression – Compression of the injured area using a bandage will help reduce bleeding and swelling.  A compression bandage can be used both during and after ice treatment.  The bandage should be firm but not so tight as to cause pain.  When applying the bandage, make sure each layer overlaps the previous layer by one-half.

Elevation – Elevating the injured area helps reduce the amount of bleeding and swelling.  For the lower limb, try to raise the injured area above the level of the pelvis.  This is best achieved lying flat with the leg raised on a chair or pillows.

Referral –Whilst completing the steps above, make an appointment with Tailor Made Physiotherapy so we can assess and further treat your injury.

Avoid HARM in the first 24-4 8hours

H – heat
A – alcohol
R – running/exercise
M – massage