Treating sports injuries
Learn more about the R.I.C.E. method.
Using the R.I.C.E. method is a good first treatment for mild sprains or strains.
R: Rest. Reduce your activity as needed. Use crutches if you need to.
I: Ice. Put ice on right away to keep swelling down. Use ice for no more than 20 minutes at a time, 4 to 8 times a day. You can use a cold pack, an ice bag, or a plastic bag filled with crushed ice and wrapped in a towel.
C: Compression. Compress the injured area to keep swelling down and support the injured area. You can use elastic wraps, air casts, splints or special boots.
E: Elevation. Keep the injured area elevated on a pillow above the level of your heart, if possible. This will help reduce swelling.
Get help if:
- The injury causes severe pain, swelling or numbness.
- You can't put any weight on the injured area.
- The pain or ache of an old injury is accompanied by increased swelling, or joint abnormality or instability.
- Pain or other symptoms worsen after using R.I.C.E.
The benefits of R.I.C.E. include pain relief, reduced inflammation and faster healing.
Start R.I.C.E. right after a mild sprain or strain. Continue for at least 48 hours.
Sources: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases