RICE Therapy - Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate

RICE Therapy - Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate

Generally where injury has occurred, a handy immediate first-aid principle to follow is RICE Therapy: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

REST the affected joint to prevent further damage and hemorrhage. The body also needs rest to repair itself. Reduce regular exercise or strenuous daily activities as needed. You doctor may advise you to put no weight on an injured area for 48 hours. You should avoid exerting weight on an ankle or knee; crutches may help. If you use a cane or one crutch for an ankle injury, use it on the uninjured side to help you lean away and relieve weight on the injured ankle.

ICE when applied to the injury, will reduce pain, swelling and inflammation by constricting the blood vessels. However, use ice bags or cold packs wrapped in a thin towel for four to eight times a day. At any time, do not leave the cold pack on for more than 15 minutes ! It will do more damage than good.

COMPRESS the injury firmly, but not too tightly, with bandages. Throbbing is a sign that the wrap is too tight. Examples of compression bandages are elastic wraps, special boots, air casts, and splints. Ask your doctor for advice on which one to use.

ELEVATE the injury to reduce swelling. It is most effective if the elevation is above the heart level, to help decrease swelling.

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