PRICE Fact Sheet
Initial Treatment of Sports Injuries - “Price” An Injury
Whether we like it or not, sports injuries do occur. Bruises, ligament sprains, and muscle strains are all common in sports, and they all cause pain. Once they do happen, your quick action may prevent the injury from becoming worse. When an injury occurs, quickly “Price” it!
Protect the injured area with splints, braces or crutches if needed. Help the athlete to a safe area if they can be moved. If they can’t safely be moved (i.e. neck pain), call for EMS.
As soon as pain occurs, stop the activity immediately. Stay off the injured area as much as possible so the tissues can begin to heal themselves. Resting the area right away will often allow an athlete to return much sooner.
Ice the injured body part for the first 24 to 72 hours—this will decrease swelling. Crushed or cubed ice works best, as it will conform well to the body part. Another alternative is to use frozen vegetables ,such as peas or corn. These can be re-frozen without the expense of a reusable soft gel freezer pack. Keep the ice on for 20 minutes at a time. If ice is kept on longer than 20 minutes, the injury may worsen due to a rush of blood to the area. Never apply heat to a new injury unless recommended by a medical professional. Ice should be reapplied a minimum of three times a day after an acute injury. However, it can be reapplied as often as once an hour for 20 minutes to help control pain.
Compression helps limit swelling, which may otherwise delay healing time. Keep a compression dressing (like an Ace bandage) around the body part. It should be wrapped snugly but not to the point where the extremity feels cold, tingly, or numb.
Elevate the injured area on pillows for the first 24 to 72 hours. Ideally, the athlete should lay flat and then prop up the extremity. This keeps it above the level of the heart, helping the swelling decrease faster. If possible, continue to prop up the injured area while sleeping.