Exercise How to: Treat Acute Soft Tissue Injury

How to: Treat Acute Soft Tissue Injury

How to: Treat Acute Soft Tissue Injury

You may have heard of the acronyms PRICER and do no HARM for the initial management of an acute soft tissue injury. So what exactly do these two words stand for?

P is for PROTECT

The first thing you want to do after suffering an acute injury is to protect the part from any further damage. 

R is for REST

This means not loading the injury for the first couple of days to prevent the injury from more damage. 

I is for ICE

Cryotherapy or cold therapy is better than heat during the first 72 hours of the injury occurring. Cold or ice causes vasoconstriction of the blood vessels which helps with inflammation and swelling in the affected part. 


This also helps with swelling and bleeding, while also offering support to the injured area. Ensure that that the compression bandage is not too tight that it restricts circulation. 

E is for ELEVATE

Raising the affected limb encourages bleeding and swelling away from the injured area to reduce inflammation. 

R is for REFER

The final R stands for a referral to a qualified health professional or for further appropriate treatment. This will ensure adequate diagnosis, management and recovery. 

In conjunction with the PRICER principle, we also want to do no HARM. These are the things we want to avoid during the initial 72 hours of the injury occurring. 

H is for HEAT

As discussed above, cold is the preferred modality of treatment for an acute injury. Heat is preferential for more chronic injuries as it increases blood circulation and reduces pain. 

A is for ALCOHOL

Alcohol has a similar effect on the blood vessels as heat. It causes vasodilation and increased bleeding and inflammation. 

R is for RUNNING

Or any form of physical activity that is going to aggravate the injury for at least 72 hours. Blood clot formation may be compromised due to increased blood flow and this will hinder healing.  

M is for MASSAGE

Massage increases trauma and swelling to the affected area and hence delay healing times. In some cases, a qualified professional may perform effleurage, a special type of massage that assists in the removal of swelling. 

So there you have it! If ever you or someone in your presence suffer an acute traumatic injury, you will be able to recall upon these two acronyms and know exactly how the situation should be managed. 

Kayla Lee Physio

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