How to treat a sports injury

Keeping fit by playing sport is great for your health and wellbeing. Sports injuries can be prevented by considering a wide variety of factors such as the environment of a particular sport, fitness levels, protective equipment and nutrition.

Bruises, muscles strains, ligament strains and sore muscles can all be treated with the RICER rule – a well-known sport formula for recovering from injury. It stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Referral.

  • Rest helps prevent any further damage to the joint. Try to move as little as possible.
  • Ice cools damaged tissue, reducing pain, swelling and bleeding. Use a cold pack by wrapping it in a towel and placing it on the injury. Or try a cold spray. Do not apply ice directly to an injury.
  • Compression supports the cooling action with a brace, tape or bandage. Whatever you use, make sure it’s not too tight fitting.
  • Elevation helps reduce bleeding and swelling. Try using a pillow for extra comfort and support.
  • Referral to a doctor or physiotherapist is important. They’ll be able to make a diagnosis and arrange any ongoing care and treatment.

7 Comments

  1. Angelgirl081 27/11/2017 at 5:00 pm

    I have taken a screenshot of this as I think it is great to have on hand. Miss 4 is quite sporty and does dancing, swimming and has just started athletics this summer so I am wary of injury.

  2. SarahBlair 12/11/2017 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks for another wonderfully timely article, I just pulled a muscle in my leg and can barely walk (Im honestly falling apart) I am currently following the RICER rule, hopefully I will be as good as new (or at least how I was) soon

  3. Mands1980 10/11/2017 at 9:21 am

    Ricer is easy to remember and gets used often in our house kids will be kids and hurt themselves often but it’s amazing how quick they bounce back. Especially using ice.

  4. Jen_Wiig 09/11/2017 at 6:15 pm

    Wow i remember ahsn RICER was RICE in my rowing and athletics day… Good see going to a Dr now included… I tore my archilles tendon but had no idea until the next day as my feet had been strapped ro stop blisters in spikes… Because referral to Dr was unheard of at the time unless there was blood and guts haha. I was just talking to hubby about RICER lastnight too as hes just injured himself in the gym and he had never heard about it before 😱

  5. MuddledUpMolly 08/11/2017 at 12:28 pm

    The RICER steps have come at a good time as last night I was injured playing indoor netball 🙁 Thankfully after multiple xrays there are no broken bones so I must continue to follow these steps as I stay at home and recover over the next week, particularly resting and trying my best not to lift my very heavy 1 year old.

  6. Bevik1971 08/11/2017 at 10:30 am

    I like the RICER rule, good way to remember. I have been through the sports and injuries thing with my now adult son and will most likely have the same to deal with for my 4 year old daughter, who LOVES to run! Put her on a grass field and she is happy just running in circles haha. Resting is always a hard one when a young one hurts themselves, unless it is really painful they can’t keep still!

  7. kymmage 02/11/2017 at 9:55 pm

    I like that it’s easy to remember the steps as long as you can retain RICER. Rest and reducing any swelling is really helpful too.

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