Any injury sustained at work, home, or sport needs to be managed well to prevent further damage and reduce time of healing. The principles of RICER and No HARM are essential in the initial management of a soft tissue injury, and should be continued for 48 – 72 hours.


Rest – rest the injured part in a position that is most comfortable. Avoiding movement will limit swelling, bruising, and associated injuries.


Ice – apply ice for 10 – 15 minutes every second hour for first 48 – 72 hours. This may reduce swelling and bruising, and relieve pain.


Compression – compressing the area with a firm elastic bandage, or tube compression will reduce bleeding / swelling and provide support to the injured area. It can also hold the ice in place temporarily, Ensure the bandage is not too tight (numbness, tingling, blue tinge to skin etc.)


Elevation – raise the injury above the level of the heart as much as possible. A pillow / stool can be used to provide support. Elevating the area limits swelling which can decrease pain.


Refer – as soon as possible after the injury arrange to see a qualified professional e.g. Doctor, Physiotherapist. They will be able to determine the extent of the injury and advise.


Harm – no hot baths / showers, as this will heat up the area


Alcohol – alcohol increases bleeding and swelling which may delay healing, and should be avoided


Running – or other exercise increases blood flow to the injured site which can delay healing


Massage – avoid massage in the early stages, or until a diagnosis is made, as this can heat area and delay healing.


The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy