A Guide to Acute Injury Management

Early diagnosis, treatment and the appropriate progression of rehabilitation

following an injury is vital for any player who wants to return to  training as soon

as possible whilst at the same time, minimizing the risk of their injury  keeping

them out of competition any longer than needed.

Common injuries associated with Rugby include:

  • Finger fractures/ hyperextension injury
  • Wrist and hand injury
  • Shoulder ligament/Acromioclavicular sprain
  • Ankle sprains
  • Knee rotation sprains

knee injury

Whatever the type of injury – a cut, muscle or neural strain, ligament sprain or

fracture, many of the underlying stages of healing are the same.  The correct

implementation of the principles of PRICED and No HARM are essential during

the initial 48-72 hours when managing acute injuries.

Initial Caution   

Always exclude serious injuries which may require medical attention, before

following the PRICED Regime.

  • Symptoms to be wary of include (not exclusively):
  • Severe pain which does not ease with time
  • Sudden and severe swelling
  • Deformity or misalignment of the injured part
  • Severe loss of the ability to use the part
  • Strong guarding of the affected limb

ankle  ankle finished

Guarding or crunching at the site of injury.

If you have any of the above or are worried, consult a medical practitioner




Once an injury has occurred, it is vital that the

  1. Affected body part is protected from further injury

and therefore, delayed healing.

  1. Abrasions / lacerations should be covered
  2. The injured part should be supported by taping,

bandaging, bracing, use of a sling.

4. Weight bearing / use of the body part should be



Resting the affected body part for 48-72 hours

after your injury is vital in order to prevent

further swelling, bleeding and damage to the

tissues.  As a general rule, during the first 48-72

hours, if movement hurts then  it’s probably not

good for the injury.



Apply ice to the area for 10-15 minutes every

hour for the first 48-72  hours after injury.  Ice

helps prevent further bleeding, reduces

inflammation and pain and is helpful in

shortening recovery time. (Note : using ice for

longer than 15-20 minutes can cause the

opposite desired effect and result in increased


Use a gel pack from the freezer (obtainable at

most pharmacies) or use a bag of frozen peas.

Whatever you use, you should wrap it in a damp

tea towel.  Avoid applying frozen objects directly

to the skin as it can cause an ice burn. Compression

Use either a wide, firm elasticated bandage or

some correctly sized elasticated tubing (tubigrip).  Both

should be available from pharmacies.  Apply

compression above as well as below the actual

area that is injured.  When using an elasticated

bandage, it is important to start applying

compression further away from the body and

work closer, with slightly less compression the

closer you get to the body so that it doesn’t act

as a tourniquet.

Ensure that the bandage is not too tight by

checking for numbness, tingling or a blue tinge to

surrounding skin or nearby extremities.

If you can apply compression and ice at the same

time this will increase the effectiveness of both

these treatments of reducing extra bleeding and

swelling and promote faster healing.

cryio treatment