The PRICE regime is a 5 step protocol that is used directly after sustaining an injury. It aims to minimise the effects of an acute injury by helping to control the amount of swelling in the area, reduce pain and maximise healing potential.
The aim of protection is to avoid further injury. This means stopping playing/training. The use of a splint, sling, boot, brace or crutches may be advised.
The body will require time for its own healing processes to occur. Please note rest means rest from all activities for at least 72 hours, not just those affecting the injured area. This is because any exercise increases blood circulation and this may lead to increased swelling of the injured region which delays healing.
Ice should be applied for 20 mins, every 2 hours or 10 mins/hr, for up to 72 hours. Ice can cause burns if applied directly to the skin so make sure there is any appropriate surface between the ice and skin, for example, wrap ice in a damp towel. Immersion into ice cold water for 10 minutes can be particularly beneficial when wishing to ice hands and feet.
Compression is often overlooked with regards to injury management which is unfortunate as it is a very important means by which to minimise the swelling in the injured area. It can take the form of a bandage, tubigrip, aircast splint/boot or compression clothing.
Compression should be snug but not constricting and should cover both above and below the affected area. If using a bandage, the direction should be from the bottom regions to the top. Compression should generally be removed at night.
Elevation aims to reduce the amount of blood flow to the area and the ideal position for this is for the injured area to be raised above the player's heart.
Please note – Anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen should NOT be taken within the first 48 hours of an injury. This is because initial inflammation is an important part of the healing process. Medication can be used later down the line in order to prevent excessive inflammation when guided to do so by a doctor.
Ideally, all injuries should be assessed by a medical professional in order to ascertain the severity of the injury and to give advice on the rehabilitation procedure. In the event that a more serious injury is suspected, please seek medical attention immediately.