For youth sports injuries which are not serious enough to warrant emergency treatment (e.g. non-emergent injuries), recovery from injury is usually a three-step process: RICE (immediate first aid), recovery and rehabilitation, leading to eventual return to competition:
- Ice: to eliminate immediate pain - Cryotherapy (ice, cold tubs, cold wraps, cold compression units, etc.)
- Compression: Compression (elastic wrap, compression sleeve, etc.) to decrease inflammation
- Elevation: In a non-gravity-dependent position to decrease inflammation.
- After pain and swelling subsides to minimal levels, it is time for exercises to re-gain range of motion. Increasing blood flow to the injured area will help reduce any residual inflammation.
- Increase motion, balance, and strength through the pain free range.
- If injury becomes chronic and progress seems to stop and pain remains, follow up with a physician for further evaluation is recommended.
Return to play
- When pain free and full pre-injury range of motion and strength.
- Psychologically ready.