Treating Sports Injuries With RICE

Treating Sports Injuries With RICE

If you have a sports injury the first thing to do is to prevent further injury or damage. This means you should stop activity and look for the cause of the injury. Once you determine what is wrong, you should start immediate treatment.

The first treatment for most acute soft tissue injuries (bruises, strains, springs, tears) is to prevent, stop and reduce swelling. When soft tissue is damaged it swells or possibly bleeds internally. This swelling causes pain and loss of motion, which limits use of the muscles.

The primary treatment for soft tissue injuries is R.I.C.E. – REST, ICE, COMPRESSION and ELEVATION.

Rest means to stop activity and give the tissues time to heal. Compression of an acute injury is perhaps the next most important immediate treatment tip. By quickly wrapping the injured body part with an elastic bandage or wrap you help keep swelling to a minimum. The next step is to apply ice to the injured area (over the wrap) to stop or reduce the swelling. Never apply heat to an acute injury. Heat will increase circulation and increases swelling.  Finally, elevating an injury helps control swelling. It’s most effective when the injured area is raised above the level of the heart. For example, if you injure an ankle, try lying on your bed with your foot propped on one or two pillows.


Immediate Treatment Tips
Here is what you should do immediately when you sustain a sports injury:

  1. Stop the activity immediately.
  2. Wrap the injured part in a compression bandage.
  3. Apply ice to the injured part (use a bag of crushed ice or a bag of frozen peas) for 10-15 minutes. To prevent frost bite, let the area warm completely before applying ice again.
  4. Elevate the injured part to reduce swelling.
  5. See a physician for a proper diagnosis of any serious injury