What is the RICE Method for Injuries?
If you’ve had an injury, such as a broken ankle, sprain, or strain, then chances are your doctor recommended the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method. This method is simple and reduces swelling, eases pain, and helps speed up recovery.
With the RICE method, you can treat your injuries from the comfort of your own home. However, if your swelling persists or worsens, it’s recommended to go see a doctor. You might want to use this method when experiencing an achy knee, ankle, back, or wrist after a sporting activity.
The following method is used for the RICE protocol:
Step 1: Rest
When you feel pain, this is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. As soon as an injury occurs, stop the activity, and rest. If possible, rest for a couple of days. The no pain no game philosophy doesn’t fly here. Doing so with specific injuries, such as a moderate to severe sprain, can worsen the damage and delay recovery. In fact, doctors suggest avoiding putting weight on it for 24-48 hours.
Step 2: Ice
When it comes to reducing pain and swelling, applying ice is your best friend. Apply an ice pack to the affected area. But first, to prevent frostbite, make sure to cover it with a light towel, though. Ice the area for 15-20 minutes, every two to three hours for the first 24-48 hours following injury. Can’t find an ice pack? No problem, a bag of frozen peas or beans will do just fine!
Step 3: Compression
Next, wrap the injured area to prevent swelling. The most common wraps used are ACE bandages. Make sure it’s snug but not too tight! Having it wrapped too tight will interrupt blood flow. So if the skin below the wrap turns blue or begins to feel cold or numb, loosen it. If the symptoms do not disappear, seek medical attention immediately.
Step 4: Elevation
Raise the injured body part above your heart level to elevate it. This step will help to reduce pain, swelling, and throbbing. It’s a pretty simple step. You can simply prop your foot up on a few pillows, for example, if you have a sprained ankle. Keep the area raised as much as possible, even when icing it.
Additionally, along with the RICE method, your physician may also recommend anti-inflammatories. The most common over the counter medications are ibuprofen or naproxen. Although, remember to speak with your doctor first about any health issues before taking anti-inflammatories.
Physical therapy is also common among sports injuries. This will help you speed up your recovery and learn the correct exercises. Also, PT specialists recommend the RICE method too. In fact, they use it after most sessions!
If you are searching for a top orthopedic, call us at 888-409-8006. Our specialists are located throughout South Florida.