Ideally, acute injuries should be seen by a GP, especially if inflammation and pain remain the same after 48 hours. However the R.I.C.E. principal should minimise discomfort and speed the recovery process.
What is the R.I.C.E. principal?
Rest – Ice – Compression – Elevation
Immediate rest from the movement allows the muscle to begin recovery without any more damage being done.
Ice should be applied as soon as possible. This will slow down circulation and thus reduce localised bleeding. Ice should be wrapped in a wet cloth to prevent ice burn. It should be applied locally to the injured area, but not all the way around the limb as this will restrict blood flow to the extremities. A small area will chill much quicker than a larger area. Usually, ice should be applied from 5 to 20 minutes.
To judge the correct amount of time, the skin should be pale when the ice is removed and not red.
Repeat this procedure every two hours.
Compression is applied at the site of injury to restrict bleeding and should be applied using a firm pad with strapping holding it in place. Do not apply compression to the whole limb as this will starve other areas of blood. Continue compression for a few days gradually reducing to a support bandage.
The injured part should be raised comfortably higher than the torso to allow gravity to assist the removal of the swelling from the injured area.
The advice above is for guidance only, any serious injury should always be referred to a qualified medical practitioner.