Preliminary Treatment for Sports Injuries

Sports injuries are unpleasant but unfortunately are a true reality of everyday life. Although some people will go see a doctor after any type of sports injury occurs, others will not. Truth be told, there are some injuries that do not require a doctor to treat, but it is always better to err on the side of caution rather than be sorry later.

In the event that you are unsure, do consider going to the doctor. However, if it is possible, it would be good to give it some preliminary treatment before you even go. Quick treatment often means the difference between a 3-month recovery and a 2-month recovery so it is very important to start treating the injury right away.

The most common injuries that are suffered are acute injuries.  The best way to treat these is to use P.R.I.C.E. initially then determine if seeing a doctor is necessary.  P.R.I.C.E. is an acronym that is short for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.  It used to be just R.I.C.E. The purpose of each step is different with rest being essential to allow the healing to begin while helping to prevent further injury to the area.


Ice-Ice-Baby! Why ice? Ice is vital because it can help stop swelling in the injured area, which can help the doctor when it comes to diagnosing the injury. This step might seem trivial, but shouldn’t you do as much as you can before you go?

Compression is important because it helps to reduce swelling even further as well as provides support for the injury. This simply means pressing the area firmly and keeping it supported. Finally, Elevation is necessary because it reduces the flow of blood to the injured area and allows the force of gravity to pull blood away, thus reducing bruising, swelling and pain.

Proper treatment using P.R.I.C.E. is to first take a piece of cloth such as a town and wrap it around the injury this helps to protect the skin from irritation.  After that, apply an ice pack or cold compress directly over the injured area.  Using an elastic bandage or even a support bandage to hold the ice in place, carefully wrap the injured area snuggly. However, be careful not to wrap it too tightly. After all, you are not trying to cut off the blood supply. You should apply ice for approximately 15 minutes every three hours during the day to continue treating.


In the event that you cannot decide if seeing a doctor is necessary, the following situations means that you should see a doctor:

One: If you see any bone, muscle, cartilage or ligaments .

Two: If the pain from the injured area seems to be spreading to other areas of the body.

Three: If you have a very large amount of swelling in the injured area after P.R.I.C.E.

Four: If you cannot move the injured area at all.

Five: If you cannot feel the injured area, or if it tingles or feels very weak and fragile.

Six: If your injury has not improved after three weeks of rest.

Seven: If your injured area has developed a rash, fever, pus, or if it feels hot to the touch.

Finally, if you have any doubts about being able to treat the injury yourself, go see a doctor.  You should always seek help from a doctor in the event that you are unsure how to treat the injury. Don’t think of this as disturbing the doctor or being a hypochondriac. Instead, you are ensuring that you are taking care of yourself.

Some scenarios might be serious enough to warrant immediate help. If your doctor is unavailable, and the injury is serious, go to the emergency room and seek medical help there.  Never leave a serious injury without seeking medical help as the condition can worsen, causing the need for serious treatment, and even potentially surgery. Take care of yourself.

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Also published on Medium.

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