Injuries to the soft structure around the bones and joints are commonly called strains and sprains. They are often associated with sports activities. 

What to look for

  • pain and tenderness 
  • swelling and bruising
  • difficulty moving the injured area, especially if it’s a joint

What to do 

Step 1

R – Rest the injured part. Help them to sit or lie down and support the injured part in a comfortable position, raised if possible. 

Step 2 

I – Apply an ice pack. Try and cool the area by putting an ice pack, or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a tea towel against the injury.  This can help to reduce the swelling, pain and bruising. 

Step 3 

C – Provide comfortable support. Leave the ice pack in place or wrap a layer of soft padding around the area, such as cotton wool. Secure the ice pack or soft padding with a conforming bandage that covers the area to the next joint, but make sure it’s not too tight by checking their circulation every 10 minutes. To do this, press a nail or skin beyond the injured area for five seconds until it goes pale. If the colour doesn’t come back within two seconds, loosen and reapply the bandage. 

Step 4

E - Elevate the injured part. Support the injury in an elevated position to help minimise swelling and bruising. You could do this by placing pillows underneath the injured part. 

Step 5

After using the RICE method, advise the casualty to rest. If the pain is severe or they cannot move the injured part, seek medical advice. 

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