PRICE guidelines

The PRICE guidelines describe what you should do for the first 24 to 48 hours after suffering a mild sprain, strain or sports injury

PRICE stands for protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation.


Protect or support your injured body part for the first 24 to 48 hours after injury.

Use a sling or a splint if that helps.


Rest your injured body part for first 24 to 48 hours and avoid activities that cause additional pain, swelling, or discomfort. You should still go about normal daily activities as much as possible but avoid further strain by taking regular rests.

When you're awake, try to move your injured body part gently for 10 to 20 seconds every hour.


If you've had an injury or flare-up in the last 2 days:

  • wrap crushed ice in a damp towel
  • hold it for 5 to 10 minutes against the part of your body that hurts

Make sure you use a damp towel between the ice and the skin to avoid ice burn. Alternatively, you could try sports sprays and gel packs, which do a similar job.

You can do this every 2 to 3 hours.

Should I use a heat pad?

After 2 days, you may find that heat is more relaxing.

You could use a heat pad or a hot water bottle with an insulated cover on it. Make sure this is not too hot and is not directly touching your skin.

You should do this for 10 to 15 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.


Apply compression with a bandage or tubigrip type of support until the swelling goes down. Wrap the bandage starting from the end furthest from your heart.

Loosen the bandage if the pain increases or the area becomes numb. 

Don't make the bandage too tight and do not wear tubigrip or any compression bandage in bed at night.


Elevate the injured body part above the level of your heart as much as possible during the first 24 to 48 hours, especially when sitting or lying down.

Make sure the body part is supported with pillows or slings.