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If you suffer an injury such as a sprain, strain, muscle pull, or tear, immediate first aid treatment can prevent

complications and help you heal faster. One of the most popular acronyms to remember if you get a sports injury is PRICE, which stands for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Using these immediate first aid measures is believed to relieve pain, limit swelling and protect the injured soft tissue. Soft Tissue Injuries When an injury occurs, damaged soft tissue may bruise, swell or bleed (externally or internally) and become inflamed. Healing occurs as the damaged tissue is replaced by collagen, perhaps better known as scar tissue. In most cases the tissue needs complete repair before you should return to sports. The PRICE Method of Acute Injury Treatment * Protection: If injured, stop playing and protect the injured part from further damage. Avoid putting weight on the injured part, get help moving to a safe area off the field. * Rest: Rest is vital to protect the injured muscle, tendon, ligament or other tissue from further injury. Resting the injured part is important to promote effective healing. * Ice: When icing an injury, choose a cold pack, crushed ice or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a thin towel to provide cold to the injured area. An ice massage is another extremely effective way to direct cold to the injured tissue. Cold provides short-term pain relief and also limits swelling by reducing blood flow to the injured area. When icing injuries, never apply ice directly to the skin (unless it is moving as in ice massage) and never leave ice on an injury for more than 20 minutes at a time. Longer exposure can damage your skin and even result in frostbite. A good rule is to apply cold compresses for 15 minutes and then leave them off long enough for the skin to re-warm. (Also see: The Proper Use of ICE). * Compression: Compression helps limit and reduce swelling, which may delay healing. Some people also experience pain relief from compression. An easy way to compress the area of the injury is to wrap an ACE bandage around the swollen part. If you feel throbbing, or if the wrap just feels too tight, remove the bandage and re-wrap the area so the bandage is a little looser. * Elevation: Elevating an injury help control swelling. It's most effective when the injured area is raised above the level of the heart. For example, if you injure an ankle, try lying on your bed with your foot propped on one or two pillows. After a day or two of treatment, many sprains, strains or other injuries will begin to heal. But if your pain or swelling does not decrease after 48 hours, make an appointment to see your primary care physician or go to the emergency room, depending upon the severity of your symptoms. Once the healing process has begun, light massage may reduce the formation of scar tissue, and improve tissue healing. Gentle stretching can be begun after all swelling has subsided. Try to work the entire range of motion of the injured joint or muscle, but be extremely careful not to force a stretch, or you risk reinjury to the area. Keep in mind that a stretch should never cause pain. For proper stretching technique, review Flexibility Exercises. Heat may be helpful once the injury moves out of the acute phase and swelling and bleeding has stopped. Moist heat will increase blood supply to the damaged area and promote healing. Finally, after the injury has healed, strengthening exercises can be begun. Start with easy weights and use good form.

Soft Tissue Injuries - Bruises, Cuts, and Punctures

Soft tissue injuries include several different types of tissue damage. If the injury includes bruises, swelling, cuts, punctures, or impalements, look here to find help on how to respond. How To Treat an Avulsion Avulsions are basically chunks of tissue removed from the body including at least all three layers of skin. Avulsions are more than simple lacerations and less than amputations. Avulsions are some of the ugliest injuries, and they come with a high degree of infection - similar to burns. Avulsions are commonly caused by animal bites, industrial equipment, or motor vehicle injuries. 1. Stay Safe. If you are not the victim, practice universal precautions and wear personal protective equipment if available. 2. Control bleeding with direct pressure and elevation, avoiding tourniquets unless bleeding cannot be controlled and and medical care will not be available for several hours. 3. Rinse the wound with water or saline solution, the cleaner the better. Sterile irrigation is the best. 4. If the tissue (skin, fat, and muscle) is not completely removed, replace the flap and dress the wound. If the tissue is completely separated from the victim's body, collect it if available and bring it with the victim to the emergency department. 5. Avulsion injuries will often need medical care, especially if the injury was from an animal bite. Bites have a high incidence of infection. 6. If bleeding cannot be controlled, or if the area of the avulsion cannot be covered by both of the victim's open hands, then call 911. Tips: 1. Do not be afraid to put direct pressure on raw muscle or fat tissue. Use an absorbant dressing or whatever clean cloth is available. What You Need: * Exam gloves * Trauma dressings or cloths How To Treat a Puncture Wound Puncture wounds can be deep or shallow and large or small. Treatment depends on the severity of the puncture wound and the size of the object creating it. Bleeding control and infection are the priorities. 1. Stay Safe. If you are not the victim, practice universal precautions and wear personal protective equipment if available. 2. Control bleeding before anything else. Putting pressure directly on the puncture wound while holding it above the level of the heart for 15 minutes should be enough to stop bleeding. If not, try using pressure points. Tourniquets should be avoided unless medical care will be delayed for several hours. 3. Deep puncture wounds (or those of unknown depth) to the abdomen, back, pelvis, thigh,

chest, or if bleeding will not stop, call 911. Also call 911 for puncture wounds of any depth to the neck. Holes in the chest can lead to collapsed lungs. Deep puncture wounds to the chest should be immediately sealed by hand or with a dressing that does not allow air o flow. Victims may complain of shortness of breath. If the victim gets worse after sealing the chest puncture wound, unseal it. 4. Once bleeding has been controlled, wash the puncture wound with warm water and mild soap (see illustration). If bleeding starts again, repeat step two. 5. Wide puncture wounds may need stitches. If the victim needs stitches, proceed to the emergency department. 6. For smaller puncture wounds that do not require stitches, use antiseptic ointment (compare prices) and cover with adhesive bandages. 7. Watch for infection and change the dressing (bandages) daily. Clean the puncture wound each time you change the dressing. If the puncture wound begins to swell or drain pus - or if redness begins to radiate or streak away from the puncture wound - contact a doctor. 8. Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief. Tips: 1. If the puncture wound is contaminated, the victim should consult a doctor as soon as possible for a tetanus vaccination or booster shot. Wounds of the feet, those that cannot be cleaned right away, and wounds made by animals all have a high risk of contamination. 2. Puncture wounds caused by animal bites may also cause rabies. Always consult a doctor for wounds caused by animal bites. How To Treat a Laceration A laceration is an irregular cut in the skin from a sharp object. Treatment for a laceration depends on how deep it is. 1. Stay Safe. If you are not the victim, practice universal precautions and wear personal protective equipment if available. 2. Control bleeding before anything else. Putting pressure directly on the laceration while holding it above the level of the heart for 15 minutes should be enough to stop bleeding. If not, try using pressure points. Tourniquets should be avoided unless medical care will be delayed for several hours. 3. If bleeding will not stop, call 911. 4. Once bleeding has stopped, wash the laceration with warm water and mild soap (see illustration). If bleeding starts again, repeat step two. 5. Determine if the laceration needs stitches. If victim needs stitches, proceed to the emergency department.

6. For smaller lacerations that do not require stitches, use antiseptic ointment (compare prices) and close with butterfly closures (compare prices). 7. Cover the laceration with sterile gauze (compare prices) and tape in place or wrap with roller gauze (compare prices). 8. Watch for infection and change the dressing (bandages) daily. Clean the laceration each time you change the dressing. If the laceration begins to swell or drain pus - or if redness begins to radiate or streak away from the laceration - contact a doctor. 9. Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief. Tips: 1. If the laceration is contaminated, the victim should consult a doctor as soon as possible for a tetanus vaccination or booster shot. Wounds of the feet, those that cannot be cleaned right away, and wounds made by animals all have a high risk of contamination. 2. Lacerations caused by animal bites may also cause rabies. Always consult a doctor for wounds caused by animal bites. How To Treat an Impaled Object Impaled objects are items that have punctured the body's soft-tissue and are still embedded. Depending on the location of the impalement and the size of the object, emergency medical response may be necessary. # Stay Safe. It's important to remain safe while helping a victim with an impaled object. Sharp objects, such as knives or nails, are not only capable of causing an injury to rescuers, but are also contaminated with the victim's blood. Follow universal precautions and wear personal protective equipment if you have it. # Call 911. Because of their complicated nature, even seemingly minor impaled objects require emergency medical response. # DO NOT REMOVE IMPALED OBJECT! Impaled objects create a puncture wound and then tamponade (put pressure on) that same wound, controlling bleeding. However, as with every rule, there are exceptions. Impaled objects may be removed if: * the victim needs CPR and the object is in the way * the object is in the way of the victim's airway If an impaled object must be removed, follow the steps to control bleeding. # If an ambulance is not available or the victim must be moved, it will be necessary to secure the object. Start by shortening the object if possible. The more of an object that sticks out of the body, the more leverage it has to do damage to surrounding tissues. # After the object is as short as possible, secure it to prevent movement. The more movement of the impaled object, the more soft-tissue damage it does and the more bleeding it will cause.

# Follow the steps for basic first aid.