Acute Injury Management

Acute (New) Injury Management

The guidelines for the treatment of injuries to the body’s soft tissue, known as the P.R.I.C.Eguidelines. Injury to the soft tissue of the body is a major cause of pain and disability and this clinical guideline sets out recommendations for treatment during the first 72 hours after an incident takes place.


P.R.I.C.E. is an acronym which stands for:

Protect from further injury (e.g. by using a support, or high-top lace-up shoes).

Avoid activity for the first 48–72 hours following injury and consider the use of crutches.

Apply ice wrapped in a damp towel for 15–20 minutes every 2–3 hours during the day for the first 48–72 hours following the injury. Do not leave ice on while asleep. Do not use heat.

Compress the injury with a simple elastic bandage or elasticated tubular bandage, which should be snug, but not tight. Remove before going to sleep.

Rest with the leg elevated and supported on a pillow until the swelling is controlled. Avoid prolonged periods without the leg elevated.

For most soft tissue injuries pain relief such as Paracetamol rather than an anti-inflammatory is best – for the first week let your body’s natural healing process work. If at 8-10 days there is still significant pain and swelling then try some NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) e.g. Ibuprofen for 8-10 days (N.B. always read the label and take any medication as the manufacturers instructs. If you are unsure see your GP).

Any injury should be assessed immediately to ascertain its severity and provide the appropriate management to ensure a more complete recovery of function.


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