Management of Acute Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injury

A soft tissue injury results in damage to blood vessels and the accumulation of blood results in swelling and compression of the surrounding tissues which inhibits healing and causes pain and muscle spasm.

Initial Management – R.I.C.E

  • Rest
    • Stop immediately and assess the injury, continued movement will result in further bleeding and swelling.
  • Ice
    • Limits bleeding, decreases pain and decreases muscle spasm.
    • Application: 10-15 minutes every 1-3 hours.
    • Ice packs or crushed ice/ice cubes wrapped in a towel.
  • Compression
    • Effective at reducing bleeding and swelling especially if applied within the first few minutes of the injury.
    • Application: Apply firmly but not too tightly. Start below the injury and finish at least one hand’s width above the injury. Worn day and night.
  • Elevation
    • Lower limb above the level of the pelvis.
    • Upper extremity – slings, or up on pillows.


Heat, alcohol and excessive movement as these can increase the bleeding and swelling. Don’t return to sport with uncovered blood, continued bleeding, deformity present, if there has been loss of consciousness or poor awareness or orientation.

Follow up with your doctor or a physiotherapist at Rathmines Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Centre on 02 4975 1622 for further management of your condition.

Treatment is safe to commence the day of injury or the next day.

Prompt effective treatment can mean returning to your sport earlier.