Soft Tissue Injuries

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.