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Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation - The R.I.C.E. Method

When should the R.I.C.E. Method be used?

The RICE method is an effective treatment that should be used immediately after an individual suffers from a knee sprain, twisted ankle, or similar sports injury. The RICE method works to relieve pain and swelling while promoting accelerated healing and increased flexibility.

RICE Method Steps:


Immediately rest the injured area.


Place the ice on the injured area to reduce swelling. Continue applying ice for 10 to 20 minutes, three or more times a day over the course of 48 to 72 hours. Once swelling subsides, place heat on the injured area to relax any lingering pain.


Wrap the injury with an athletic or elastic bandage to help reduce swelling. The bandage is too tight if the injured person feels numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness, or increased swelling on the afflicted area.


Elevate the injured area. Rest the injured area on a pillow and make sure it remains above the level of the heart.

What to do after the RICE Method?

Once you've completed the RICE method and the swelling and pain have subsided, you can begin gradually stretching and strengthening the injured area to help it return to normal function.

Know when you should go to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care

It's extremely important to seek immediate care from either an Emergency Room or Urgent Care when you experience any of the following symptoms following a sports injury:

  • Extreme pain, swelling and bruising
  • Discolored skin surrounding the affected area
  • Angulation or the area may be bent or crooked at an obscure angle
  • You are experiencing severe pain and cannot apply weight to the injured body part
  • Inability to move the affected bone, joint or body part
  • You see redness or red streaks spreading out from the injury
How do I know if I should consult a Sports Medicine Doctor?

If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms it may be time to schedule a consultation with one of our Sports Medicine Doctors. Our physicians will be able to diagnose your condition and develop a customized treatment plan to help alleviate the pain and get you back to doing your daily activities and sports.

  • You cannot walk without feeling significant pain
  • Your limb buckles or gives way when you try to use the joint
  • You have numbness in any part of the injured area
  • Aching in the joint, followed by periods of relative relief
  • The area surrounding the injured joint is very tender to touch
  • Joint stiffness after periods of inactivity or rest
  • Pain after extensive use
  • Loss of motion
  • You are in doubt about the seriousness of the injury or how to care for it

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