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Learn more about the R.I.C.E. method.

If you have a mild strain or sprain, try R.I.C.E. Show me how.

Reviewed 10/20/2021

Treating sports injuries. Mild strains and sprains can benefit from initial treatment at home using the R.I.C.E. method.

Using the R.I.C.E. method is a good first treatment for mild sprains or strains. The benefits 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.

Keep scrolling to learn how to use R.I.C.E.

REST

  • Reduce your activity as needed.
  • Use crutches if you need to.

ICE

  • Put ice on right away to keep the swelling down.
  • Use ice for 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.

COMPRESSION

  • Compress the injured area to keep the swelling down and support the injured area.
  • You can use elastic wraps, air casts, splints or special boots.
  • 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.

    NEED CRUTCHES AFTER AN INJURY? FIND OUT HOW TO USE THEM SAFELY.

    GET SAFETY TIPS

    Sources: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

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