reviewed 6/3/2019

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

Related stories
Disclaimer

This information is provided for educational purposes only. Individuals should always consult with their healthcare providers regarding medical care or treatment, as recommendations, services or resources are not a substitute for the advice or recommendation of an individual's physician or healthcare provider. Services or treatment options may not be covered under an individual's particular health plan.