Management of Soft Tissue Injuries

Treatment should be started immediately. Correct initial treatment of a soft tissue injury can be the most important factor in uencing recovery.

The RICER injury management approach is the best treatment for a soft tissue injury, and should be initiated immediately after injury for 48-72 hours.

Applying RICER will assist in reducing bleeding and swelling and provide support for the injured area.

Rest – Avoid stressing the injured area for at least 48-72 hours.

Ice – Apply ice to the injured area for 20 minutes, frequently for the first 48-72 hours after injury.

Compression – Firmly apply wide compression bandage over the injured area and above and below the injury site.

Elevation – Raise the injured area above the level of the heart at all times.

Referral – Refer to a qualified health professional (Doctor, Physiotherapist, etc).


Avoid HARMful factors for 72 hours after the injury (see below):

Heat – Heat increases the bleeding at the injured site. Avoid hot baths and showers, saunas, hot water bottles, heat packs and liniments.

Alcohol – Alcohol increases bleeding and swelling at the injury site, and delays healing.

Running – Running or any form of exercise may cause further damage. A player should not resume exercise within 72 hours of an injury unless approved by a medical professional.

Massage – Massage causes an increase in bleeding and swelling, and should be avoided within 72 hours of the injury. If the injury is massaged within the 72 hours, it may take longer to heal.