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Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation- Management of Acute Injuries

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Updated January 15, 2007

RICE is the acronym used for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. It is used as the best initial treatment of soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains, and contusions. The combination of RICE helps reduce inflammation that occurs after acute injury. It is important to remember that the earlier this treatment is put into place, the more effective it is.

Rest:

Rest and protect the injured area. If it hurts to bear weight on the injury, use crutches, if it hurts to move the area immobilize it with a splint.

Ice:

Apply ice or a frozen object, such as a bag of corn, etc from the freezer, to the injury. The cold will reduce swelling and pain at the injured site. This step should be done as soon as possible. Apply the frozen object to the area for 20 minutes three times a day for the first 48 hours.

Compression:

Compress the injured site by applying an Ace bandage. This will decreases swelling of the injured region. Although the wrap should be snug, make sure it is not too tight as this can cause numbness, tingling, or increased pain.

Elevation:

Elevate the injured area above the level of the heart as much as possible. This technique will also assist in reducing the amount of swelling to the injured site.

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