After an accident, such as an ankle sprain or knee injury, you can relieve pain, reduce swelling, and counteract the body’s initial response to injury with the RICE method. It’s important to perform this protocol as soon as possible after an injury to promote flexibility and healing.
What does RICE MEAN?
RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Stop using the injured body part! Protect the area, and avoid any activity that is painful or may have caused the injury. Continued activity could cause further damage.
Use ice for the first 48-72 hours after an injury. Apply ice several times a day for 20 minutes at a time, followed by one hour “off.” The cold will contract injured capillaries and blood vessels to help stop internal bleeding. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
Wrap the injured body part firmly with an elasticized bandage, compression sleeve, or cloth – especially when you are more active. This will help speed up healing time by reducing swelling around the injury.
Elevate the injured body part above the level of your heart to decrease swelling and joint pain.
In addition, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin, may also help reduce your pain and swelling, and are beneficial treatments for muscular aches and pains, arthritis, and joint stiffness. If you have tried the RICE method but experience no improvement, or if you are unable to put any weight on the injured area, you should seek medical attention.