Acute Injury Management


Acute Injury Management

Acute Injuries can happen on the sports field and in daily life. In the event this happens to you or someone you know, the information we provide can offer the basic knowledge of acute care management to specific injuries until Medical care can arrive. 

Soft Tissue INJURY

For acute soft tissue injuries follow the RICE procedures.

REST— Injuries heal faster if rested.  Rest means not using or bearing weight on the injured body part.

ICE — Apply ice for 20 minutes to the area.  During the first 24-48 hours an ice pack should be applied multiple times a day.  A good rule to remember is “every hour on the hour”.   This rule allows for a 20 minute ice application and then 40 minutes to allow the area to return to normal body temperature.  Do not exceed 30 minutes of ice treatment for any extremity as it may impede your healing.  If you are applying a reusable ice pack, do not apply directly to the skin.  Place a thin towel between the skin and the ice pack.

COMPRESSION — Apply an ace bandage (if applicable) around the area.  Begin wrapping the area furthest away from the center of your body, moving over the injured area, and ending closer to the center of your body.  Use moderate tension at the beginning of the wrap and begin to loosen as you go past the injury site. Make sure to overlap the bandage as you go. Wrapping should never cause more swelling or skin discoloration around the injury.  If this occurs, remove wrap immediately, as the ace bandage may be wrapped too tight.
ELEVATION — Elevate the area above the heart as often as possible for the first 24 hours.   Elevation will assist the veins in returning the fluid from the injured area to the central circulatory system.

Medication: Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory that can assist with reducing pain and swelling associated with acute injuries such as sprains and strains. Always speak to your doctor before taking any medication.



Open Wound INJURY

1.  Protect yourself first, before treating someone with an open wound.  Wear protective gloves.

2.  If needed, expose the wound by removing any clothing to find the source of the bleeding.

3.  Place a sterile gauze pad or clean cloth on the wound and apply direct  pressure.  If the gauze becomes soaked DO NOT remove it from the wound, simply add new dressings on top of it.

4.  If possible, elevate the area to reduce the blood flow as you continue to apply direct pressure.

5. Once the bleeding has stopped, clean the affected area and apply a clean dressing, followed by a mild compression wrap.



Any trauma to the head is considered a very serious injury and in some cases could be life threatening.  If the victim is unresponsive or showing signs and symptoms below, call 911.

•    Loss of consciousness
•    Nausea vomiting
•    Vision Problems
•    Confusion
•    Sensitivity to light or noise
•    Change in personality
•    Change in pupil size
•    Headache or pressure in the head
•    Memory loss
•    Dizziness or poor balance
•    Ringing in the ears


Fracture INJURY

A fracture is a serious injury that requires immediate care.  Although there are many different types of fractures, the following guidelines can assist with treating the majority of fractures.  
1.   Get Help! Call 911.

2.   Do not try to transport a person who may have a fracture yourself. EMS is equipped to deal with these injuries and have the proper equipment  to treat the victim during transport.

 3.  Keep the patient still and support the injured area, until EMS arrives.

4.  Open fractures - control the bleeding with sterile dressing and pressure  if required.

5.  Sometimes it is difficult to tell when a bone is fractured.  If you are unsure, assess the area using the mnemonic, DOTS- Deformity, Open Wound,  Tenderness and Swelling.  

6.  Immobilization of the affected area is required.  A splint along with an ace bandage is a good way to immobilize the affected area.  Always splint the area the way you found it.  Do not attempt to move the area in any way prior to splinting.



Physical Therapy Follow-up

Often, sports related injuries heal with time and proper care.  However, some injuries require physician follow-up and extended treatment.  When physical therapy is recommended please contact any of our ProEx Physical Therapy locations. >click here for clinic locations



The content on this page is intended to provide information to the general public in regards to care of acute injuries. It is meant to supplement
and not replace the the advice of medical professionals. In the event of an injury or illness you should always consult your physician and discuss
options and treatment pertinent to your individual case.



Acute Injury Management