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Our Ask A Physio series is a collection of micro blogs aimed at giving a basic understanding to some frequently asked questions. If you have an injury or are experiencing discomfort please book for an assessment, or contact reception for more information.

What is the best immediate response to an injury?

Is RICE still a thing?? Absolutely! If we remember from health class, RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate for 72 hours.

In most cases rest means relative rest, not completely stopping everything. Unless you’ve fractured, dislocated or otherwise seriously injured something, keeping on with gentle exercise will help settle early inflammation.

Ice is actually a topic which gets us arguing about whether it's appropriate or not. My simple rule of thumb is if the injury is hot (throbbing, red, swelling), then ice it down for 20 minutes. You can do this 2-3 times a day, but going over the top with ice for a week or more can actually slow your healing down. 

Compression should be flexible and comfortable, and shouldn’t be a super rigid brace or splint early on. There is a tendency for injuries to stiffen up quite quickly in the first week, and stopping gentle movement can make this much worse. Again, the obvious exception would be a fracture, dislocation or something else really serious.

Elevation is pretty self explanatory, and probably isn’t as important as the other things you’ll do. It's most useful for ankle and knee injuries, just keep your leg up while you’re icing it to help with draining out any swelling.

Then book in to see a physio and we can get a plan happening so you'll be back to doing what you love!

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