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Acute Injury Recovery (RICE)

During the first few days of acute soft tissue inflammation a protocol called RICE would be recommended to reduce the symptoms of the inflammation. This consist of the following steps to recovery: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.


Rest is an essential part of the procedure; this ensures that the injury is not aggravated. If the injury is not rested then the recovery process may struggle to take place as the inflamed soft tissues would still be working hard, which would put them under a great deal of stress. In addition, the inflammation could worsen as the injured site would be aggravated, preventing the healing process from taking place. Protection, such as a support or bandage could be used to help protect the area from further injury.   

However, after the first three days of adhering to the PRICE procedure, MICE is recommended which replaces the idea of resting the injury to undertaking light movement. Gentle exercises and stretches would ensure that whilst healing the injury does not become stiff. The pain threshold during the movement/mobilisation process should be mild, if it is unbearable then the client should not proceed in moving the injury. Further advice from a medical professional may be necessary.


Movement that focuses on balance, joint flexibility and strength exercises after day 3 of recovery will aid with the rehabilitation period and decrease the risk of a reoccurring injury from taking place. In regard to RICE, the next step is the appliance of Ice. This is recommended instead of heat as heat will encourage further fluids to the injured site which may adversely increase swelling further. Whereas ice reduces the pain and micro circulation to the injury which will ease symptoms. This should be done for no longer than 20 minutes and the ice should not be directly applied to the skin and can be applied every one to two hours in necessary.


Compression aids with the reduction in swelling and bleeding between the soft tissues. If the soft tissue inflammation were for example an ankle sprain compression would provide it with further support if the client needed to walk on it. This could be compressed using an elastic bandage, ensuring it is not too tight so that the blood circulation is not restricted. This can be compressed for 48 to 72 hours.


The last stage is Elevation, if possible, the injured limb should be elevated above the heart to promote elimination of excess fluids, which will reduce the swilling too. If this protocol is followed correctly then the acute soft tissue inflammation should be reduced, and recovery will happen successfully. Remedial massage can then be applied after the first five days which will help with breakdown of scar tissues, increased microcirculation and aid with lymphatic drainage. Depending on how the client feels I may be best to work around the injured site for a while until it is no longer painful. This could take up to 6 weeks to fully heal. This process will also reduce the overall pain of the injury, which is a main problematic symptom.

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