These four components are prescribed by many health professionals for early treatment of acute soft tissue injuries, such as a:
- bone injury
R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation)
- Rest: Reduce or stop using the injured area for 48 hours. If you have a leg injury, you may need to stay off of it completely.
- Ice: Put an ice pack on the injured area for 20 minutes at a time, 4 to 8 times per day. Use a cold pack, ice bag, or a plastic bag filled with crushed ice that has been wrapped in a towel.
- Compression: Compression of an injured ankle, knee, or wrist may help reduce the swelling. These include bandages such as elastic wraps, special boots, air casts and splints. Ask your doctor which is best.
- Elevation: Keep the injured area elevated above the level of the heart. Use a pillow to help elevate an injured limb.
When to Seek Medical Treatment
Get professional treatment if any injury is severe. A severe injury means having an obvious fracture or dislocation of a joint, prolonged swelling, or prolonged or severe pain.
While many common acute injuries can be controlled with these four simple steps, especially when combined with over-the-counter pain relievers, more serious conditions may require surgery or physical therapy.
NIH Pub No. 01-2406
Childhood Sports Injuries, NIAMS