Learn more about the RICE method

When it comes to sport and exercise, the possibility of injury is always present.

Inflammation and pain often occur after injuries to the ankle, knee, or joint. And the well-known R.I.C.E treatment method can help reduce this swelling, relieve pain, and promote flexibility and healing. In fact, R.I.C.E treatment is a mainstay for sports trainers and other athletic health experts.

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What Is the R.I.C.E Treatment Method?

R.I.C.E. stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation, and taking these simple steps following a strain, sprain, or other similar injury can help you more quickly recover and get back to everyday activities.

Learn more about how to treat your injuries with the R.I.C.E. method by reading the steps below.

Step 1: Rest

p>Immediately rest the affected area as much as possible. Experts recommend 24 to 48 hours of no weight-bearing activities. Continued use of a moderate or severely sprained ankle can delay healing, increase pain, or even worsen the injury. With a mild sprain, activity is generally tolerated after 24 to 48 hours of rest.

Step 2: Ice

To help reduce pain and swelling during the first 48 hours after injury, ice the area 20 minutes at a time every 4 hours, using an ice pack covered in a towel. If you don’t have an ice pack handy, an alternative would be to use a bag of frozen peas, corn, or other veggies. Try not to ice the injury for more than 20 minutes at a time, as it may actually cause further tissue damage.

Step 3: Compression

Using an elastic medical bandage, wrap the area to help decrease swelling and internal bleeding (if present). The wrap should be snug, but make sure you have proper circulation. Some signs that the bandage is too tight include numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness, or swelling. If you think you need to use the wrap for more than 48 to 72 hours, you may have a more serious issue that requires prompt medical attention.

Step 4: Elevation

Raise the injured body part above heart level so that gravity can move fluids away from the injured area.

R.I.C.E. Recovery

While using the R.I.C.E. method, taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen may help to reduce swelling and pain. With these tips, a sprain, strain, or other minor injury can be easily treated and get you back in the game as soon as possible.

RELATED: Using Ice After Exercise

Seeking Medical Attention After a Sports Injury

If you have are not sure of the severity of your injury, be sure to consult your physician before beginning any sort of treatment regimen. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our sports medicine experts, visit UPMCSportsMedicine.com, or call 1-855-93-SPORT.

About Sports Medicine

Sports bring with them a potential for injury. And if you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury, UPMC Sports Medicine can help. We serve athletes from a wide variety of sports across every demographic: young or old, male or female, pro or amateur. We partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and over 60 high school, college, and regional teams and events. We’re working to build better athletes. We use cutting-edge rehabilitation techniques to help you recover and provide education on how to prevent injuries.