North Kitsap Soccer Club

RICE for Sprains and Strains

st, Ice, Compression and Elevation Soft Tissue Injury First Aid
Treatment Tips for Immediate Sports Injury and Soft Tissue Injury First Aid
Elizabeth Quinn
; Guide
ated January 17, 2011
If you suffer an injury such as a sprain, strain, muscle pull, or tear, immediate first aid treatment can prevent
complications and help you heal faster. One of the most popular acronym
s to remember if you get a sports
injury is RICE, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Using these immediate first aid
measures is believed to relieve pain, limit swelling and protect the injured soft tissue.
Soft Tissue Injuries
When an
injury occurs the damaged soft tissue may bruise, swell or bleed (externally or internally) and
become inflamed. Healing occurs as the damaged tissue is replaced by collagen, perhaps better known as scar
tissue. In most cases the tissue needs complete rep
air before you should
return to sports
At present, the RICE treatment approach is still bei
ng recommended by most experts.
The RICE Method of Acute Injury Treatment
If you are injured, stop playing, get medical attention if necessary and rest. Resting an injury is
important immediately after injury for two reasons. First, rest is vital to protect the injured muscle,
tendon, ligament or other tissue from further inju
ry. Second, your body needs to rest so it has the
energy it needs to heal most effectively.
If you are using ice, choose a cold pack, crushed ice or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a thin
towel to provide cold to the injured area.
An ic
e massage is
another extremely effective way to direct
cold to the injured tissue.
Cold provides short
term pain relief and also limits swelling by reducing blood flow to the injured
area. As stated above, it's unclear if reducing inflammation entirely is helpful or harmful as it relates to
tissue repair and healing times. regard to healing. If you choose to use cold therapy, never apply ice
directly to the skin (unless it is moving as
in ice massage) and never leave ice on an injury for more
than 20 minutes at a time. Longer exposure can damage your skin and even result in frostbite. A good
rule is to apply cold compresses for 15 minutes and then leave them off long enough for the skin
to re
Compression helps limit and reduce
which may delay healing. Some people
also experience pain relief from compression. An easy way to compress the area of the injury is to
wrap an ACE bandage around the swollen part. If you feel throbbing, or if the wrap just feels too tight,
remove the b
andage and re
wrap the area so the bandage is a little looser.
Elevating an injury help 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 b
ed with your foot
propped on one or two pillows.
After a day or two of RICE (or RCE) treatment , many sprains, strains or other injuries will begin to heal. But
if your pain or swelling does not decrease after 48 hours, make an
appointment to see your primary care
physician or go to the emergency room, depending upon the severity of your symptoms.