Slip & Fall

RICE: Immediate Measures to Treat Soft Tissue Injuries

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A soft tissue injury is a general term used to describe any damage to muscle, ligaments or tendons that can result in a sprain, strain, muscle pull, or tear. These injuries are common to sports and recreational activities. Soft tissue injuries can also result from car accidents or slip and fall accidents.

A soft tissue injury can result in inflammation, external or internal bleeding, bruising or swelling. Healing occurs as the damaged tissue is replaced by collagen, also known as scar tissue. In most cases, it takes time for the tissue to be repaired and for the injured individual to resume normal physical activities or sports.

RICE as Effective Treatment for Soft Tissue Injury

When someone suffers a soft tissue injury, appropriate first aid treatment can reduce complications and help the body heal faster. RICE, is a popular acronym for general soft tissue injury treatment. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Employing these immediate first aid measures can relieve pain, limit swelling and help protect the injured soft tissue.

  • Rest: Rest is vital to protect the injured muscle, tendon, ligament or other tissue from secondary injury or further strain. If injury is suspected, stop activity and protect the injured part from further damage. Avoid putting weight on the injured part and get help moving to a safe area. Resting the injured part is important to promote effective healing. If the pain is not severe, rest the injured part until pain and swelling has subsided.
  • Ice: When icing an injury, choose a cold pack, crushed ice or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a thin towel to apply to the injured area. This provides short-term pain relief and also limits swelling by reducing blood flow to the injured area. 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 warm up – 15 minutes on / 5 minutes off.
  • Compression: Compression also helps limit and reduce swelling and can help relieve the pain. 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 feels too tight, remove the bandage and re-wrap the area so the bandage is a little looser and circulation is restored.
  • Elevation: Elevate the injury to help control swelling. It’s most effective when the injured area is raised above the level of the heart.

Common Symptoms of Soft Tissue Injuries

Symptoms of potential soft tissue injury include:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Sore muscles or spasms in the back, deep muscle pain
  • Tingling or numbness in the extremities
  • Dizziness or nausea

If one begins to experience any of these symptoms, it is important to follow the RICE method for immediate first aid. For minor to moderate injuries, follow up with a doctor’s appointment. Severe injuries and acute pain may require a trip to the emergency room.

Slip and Fall Accidents and Statistics

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Slip and fall accidents occur every day in the US and cost millions in lost wages, medical bills and legal fees. Sadly, the largest percentage of slip and fall injury victims are made up of senior citizens. The resulting injuries from a slip and fall accident can be painful and permanent.

Sometimes, these accidents are due to conditions of negligence and fault may lie with another person, establishment, business, or manufacturer. In such cases, a personal injury attorney may be needed in order to protect a victim’s rights and also help recover monetary damages for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

14 Alarming Slip and Fall Accident Statistics

  • Slip and fall accidents account for over 1,000,000 emergency room visits each year.
  • Slip and falls are not a primary cause of occupational fatalities, but they do represent the largest cause of lost days from work.
  • 22% of slip and fall accidents resulted in 31 or more missed days of work, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Slip and falls are also the primary cause behind all workers’ compensation claims and account for the leading cause of job-related injuries for people ages 15-24.
  • Slip and fall incidents are the leading cause of compensable injuries in the American trucking industry.
  • Floors, mats, and flooring materials are found to contribute to 2,000,000 slip and fall injuries annually, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Bone fractures occur in 5% of all cases of reported falls. Of all fracture injuries resulting from slip and falls, hip fractures lead to the most severe health problems and deaths among seniors.
  • Every year, one out of three people over age 65 will experience a slip and fall. 50% have been injured by a previous slip and fall accident.
  • 67% or all reported fall fatalities consist of senior citizens age 75 and older.
  • For senior citizens in the 65-84 age group, falls are the number two cause of injury-related deaths. For the seniors age 85 and older, falls rank as the number one cause.
  • Slip and fall accidents account for 87% of all fractures in seniors over the age of 65 and is the number two cause of spinal cord and brain injuries for this group.
  • Fall injuries are the primary cause behind 40% of all nursing home admissions.
  • The National Institute on Aging reports that 30% of all people over age 65 will fall, of which 10% will result in a serious injury.
  • At least 60% of nursing home patients will experience a slip and fall accident each year.

Slip and fall accidents, particularly those resulting from floor materials and job-related factors fare typically caused by negligent actions or conditions. In many cases, claims for compensation face large insurance companies at work on the other end. Injury victims should seek legal counsel and discuss their situation with an experienced injury attorney who can help the victim determine whether they are entitled to compensation and can also take the necessary steps to move the claims process forward.


National Floor Safety Institute – Same-Level Slip-and-Fall Statistics