NASPE/NCAT Sport Injury Resource
It is important to treat any injury as soon as possible to help control swelling
and increase recovery time. The recognized regimen for immediate treatment of
sport injuries includes rest, ice (cold application), compression, and elevation
(RICE). Remove the injured athlete from play, apply ice to the affected area,
wrap or compress the injured area with an elastic bandage when appropriate,
and elevate the injured area above heart level to reduce swelling.
Rest the area. Do not move the injured area. Splint or immobilize the area
Apply ice or cold application to the area. Ice helps to promote
local constriction of blood vessels, which in turn helps to control swelling.
Ice also helps decrease pain to the injured area. Ice should be applied at least
72 hours following the injury. Ice should be left on the injured area for approximately
20 minutes (longer for areas with more muscle/fat, such as the thigh). Remember
to place a towel over the skin before applying a commercial ice pack.
Apply an elastic wrap over and around the injured area to
help reduce swelling. Using medium tightness, begin the wrap at the distal end
of the limb (furthest away from your body) and wrap to the proximal end of the
limb (closes to your body). For example, if an elastic wrap is needed for an
ankle sprain, begin at the ball of the foot (leave toes exposed), and spiral
up ending about mid-calf.
Elevate the injured area to help reduce swelling around the
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