Soft tissue injuries are caused when muscles or ligaments are either torn or stretched. It is also difficult to distinguish between a soft tissue injury and a fracture. If you are unsure, treat for a fracture until proven otherwise by x-rays etc.
The management for sprains or strains is summarised using the acronym R.I.C.E.R.
R Rest the injured limb and reduce the movement and use of the limb
I Ice compress to the injured limb leaving the ice compress on for 15-20 minutes every 2 hours for the first 24 hours, then 15-20 minutes every 4 hours for the following 24 hours. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
C Compression bandage to the affected limb to help reduce swelling
E Elevate the limb to reduce the swelling
R Refer to medical aid if necessary
NOTE: If one of the above elements is missing (e.g., ice) you must still provide the rest of the treatment.