What PRICE a speedy recovery?
Today I'm on about soft tissue injuries, sprains, strains etc.
I better start by telling you what 'soft tissue' is I guess. The soft, or non-bony bits around your bones and joints, the Muscles, Ligaments and Tendons. These can be injured in so many different ways I'm not even going to start on the 'mechanism of injury' but stick to the basics. Suffice to say that injuries to soft tissue are usually Sprains and Strains.
Tendons, the bits that attach muscles to bones, can be strained, bruised, or even ruptured if the muscle is overstretched. Ligaments join bone to bone and can be torn or sprained due to sudden or even unexpected wrenching.
Symptoms will include pain, tenderness, difficulty in movement, swelling and bruising.
Your aim as a first aider is to try and reduce any swelling, therefore ease pain (slightly) and get medical help if necessary.
Best procedure for this is to remember RICE, or as I prefer to call it PRICE.
- Protection from any further injury
- Rest the injured limb as much as possible, "it ain't gonna fix if you keep running around on it!"
- Ice, get a cold compress, a damp towel or even an ice pack on the injury, this will help to reduce swelling, bruising and therefore, pain.
- Compression, secure the joint in a firmly wrapped (not so tight you cut off circulation) bandage. A conforming bandage or 'tubigrip' work best. Be aware that the injury may still be swelling so check circulation regularly. This bandaging should extend to the next joint, so for an ankle injury, wrap the leg from knee to toes.
- Elevation. Support the injury in a raised position to minimise swelling and bruising.(Gravity works)
If the casualty can not use the injured limb, or is in severe pain, get them to A+E
P can also be for Pain relief. If the casualty ends up in an Ambulance he or she may find themselves sucking on the business end of a blue bottle. If they go home, Ibuprofen works wonders.
I must say though, as a first aider, don't go giving out drugs, but if the casualty has their own, (or mum has some in her handbag) feel free to offer advice on what they should and shouldn't take, but only if you know what you're talking about! I'm saying Ibuprofen is OK but how much, depends on the size and age of who has the gammy foot, knee, elbow etc.
One good thing about ISO-butyl-propanoic-phenolic acid, is that unlike some other drugs, it is stable in solution. (listen to me sounding like a chemist) or to but it another way, drug companies can make gels out of the stuff, which can then be rubbed onto the injury rather than ingested. In my opinion a far better way to treat a soft tissue injury on children, than shovelling tablets down them.
You will need to avoid HARM for the first 72 hours
- Heat – such as hot baths, saunas or heat packs
- Alcohol – drinking alcohol will increase bleeding and swelling and decrease healing
- Running – or any other form of exercise that could cause more damage
- Massage – which may increase bleeding and swelling