Dencorub Recovery Zone - Acute Injury Management

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Acute Injury Management

R.I.C.E.D. method for 48 up to 72 hours to reduce the effects of soft tissue damage and improve healing time.

What is Soft Tissue?

Soft Tissue excludes cartilage, bone and teeth. It includes skin, subcutaneous and fatty tissue, muscles, tendons, joint capsules, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels, ears, eyes, heart and lung.

How can damage occur?

Sprains, strains, bruises and lacerations are the most common forms of soft tissue injury. They may be:

  1. EXTRINSIC – i.e. they occur when excessive force is applied to a body part causing immediate pain and tissue damage. These injuries can result from a direct blow.
  2. INTRINSIC – i.e. caused by force generated by the tissue, such as muscle strains and tendon sprains. These may also include overuse injuries which occur as a result of repetitive friction, pulling, twisting or compressions. Because they more commonly affect the tendons, pain develops slowly, and these injuries are often more severe than those caused by external forces.


  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation
  • Diagnosis

Acute Injury & First AID



Place the athlete in a comfortable position, preferably lying down. The injured part should be immobilised and supported.


Continued activity may promote bleeding by increasing blood flow. Therefore inactivity will reduce blood flow.


  • Decreases recovery time and therefore reduces the time away from activity
  • Reduces the chance of re-injury by modifying the activity level so as to enhance the healing time of the damaged tissues



The conventional methods are:

  • Crushed Ice in a wet towel / plastic bag
  • Immersion in icy water
  • Commercial cold packs wrapped in a wet towel
  • Cold water from the tap is better than nothing.

Apply for 15 to 20 minutes every 1 to 2 hours for the first 48 hours.


  • Do not apply ice directly to skin as ice burns can occur
  • Do not apply ice to people who are sensitive to cold or have circulatory problems
  • Children have a lower tolerance to ice.


Ice reduces:

  • Swelling by vasoconstriction
  • Pain by dulling nerve endings
  • Muscle Spasm
  • Secondary damage to the injured area

Ice baths are most effective if practical.



Apply a firm wide elastic bandage over a large area covering the injured parts, as well as above and below the injured part.


  • Reduces bleeding and swelling by counteracting forces that cause leakage of blood and plasma into surrounding tissue
  • Most effective prevention of swelling



Raise the injured area above the level of the heart at all possible times.

  • Elevate above the heart e.g. pillow under the mattress
  • Decreases volume & pressure of blood through injury site
  • Gravity promotes blood flow to heart

Avoid any H.A.R.M

  • Heat
  • Alcohol
  • Running/riding or early exercise
  • Massage

as these can cause increased bleeding and swelling and slow down healing time


  • Reduces bleeding and swelling
  • Reduces pain



Refer to a suitable qualified professional such as a Doctor or Physiotherapist for a definite diagnosis and ongoing care.

It is important to see a qualified sports health professional early to get an accurate diagnosis and advice on treatment, rehabilitation and return to sport times. Return to sport too early may cause further damage and increase the time before the athlete can return to full training and competition. The health professional will:

  • Assess the extent of the injury
  • Give appropriate advice & diagnosis
  • Provide treatment & a home rehabilitation / exercise program
  • Provide clear guidelines and timeframes for a safe return to sport


Early referral for a definite diagnosis to ascertain the exact nature of the injury and to gain expert advice on the rehabilitation program required.