I – Ice
Icing, also known as cryotherapy, uses cold temperatures to manage pain and reduce swelling. Never apply ice directly to the skin. Use a towel or pillow case to provide a barrier between ice and skin.
Ice that will conform to the injured area is best, but use what you have on hand. A bag of crushed ice or frozen peas work well. Use ice for about ten-twenty minutes at a time, remove the ice for 20-30 minutes and repeat the application later.
C – Compression
Compression is another strategy for reducing swelling in an injury. Use a bandage to firmly wrap the injury. This acts as a mechanical barrier against swelling. The wrapping should apply compression but not be so tight that it cuts off the flow of blood. An elastic bandage designed for first-aid is ideal, but again, use what you have available: PT tape, a scarf, a shirt, or any type of bandage will work.
E – Elevation
Once you have completed the above steps, situate the person so that the injured area is elevated above their heart. This limits fluid accumulation to the injured site and minimizes swelling. If raising it above the heart isn’t possible or easy, get it up as high as possible. Icing in coordination with elevation is ideal.
When to Use the PRICE Method of Injury Care
You can use the PRICE method for most acute injuries, often those caused by sports. In the case of a serious injury, call for emergency medical help right away. Signs someone needs emergency attention include deformity in the joint or tissue, severe pain and swelling, and a protruding bone or otherwise obvious fracture.
PRICE is also appropriate for pediatric use. Children are particularly vulnerable to acute injuries because they are active and often play a lot of sports. If your child gets a sprain, strain, or another minor injury while playing, you can apply the PRICE method until you can get them to a doctor.
When to See an EmergeOrtho Sports Medicine Specialist
It’s important to see an orthopedic and sports medicine physician after any injury, even if you think it’s mild. Use the PRICE method of injury care until you can get a full evaluation, but don’t assume it will be adequate for full healing.
A specialist can ensure you’re doing everything necessary to heal the injury. They will evaluate it and determine if you need more than just rest. They can provide medications, injections, physical therapy, and if necessary, surgery.
Request an appointment online to see one of our sports medicine specialists, or call us any time at 984.279.3662.