RICE is a word you’ll want to remember, especially if you play lots of sports. It’s a word, but it’s also an acronym. This acronym can help you remember several basic treatments for soft tissue injuries, specifically, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. RICE is considered a first aid technique rather than a complete or comprehensive medical treatment. If you receive a joint injury or sprain while playing sports, or anytime, just remember RICE until you can get to the Cleveland Emergency Hospital for medical attention.
Joint sprains can occur when a joint is twisted in awkward ways, and ligaments are stretched beyond their normal limits. For example, ankle sprains can occur when a person steps on an irregular surface or exerts too much force causing the ankle to turn inward. Sprained ankles are common in sporting activities but can occur anytime a person makes a ‘wrong’ move. The result is that tendons in the foot and ankle are injured and become inflamed. Fluids, as well as blood flow in the area, increases causing redness and swelling. Nerves around the injury become more sensitive resulting in pain, especially if pressure is exerted on the foot by standing or walking.
While RICE is not a cure, using the techniques may help alleviate pain and swelling until you can get to the emergency room at one of Cleveland Emergency Hospital’s five locations. Bear in mind that the following is not medical advice and is presented as suggestions for controlling symptoms until you can be seen by a medical professional. Also, these actions may not be appropriate in all situations. Keep in mind the four letters of the acronym.
- R: The “R” stands for “rest” which is a key factor in helping the body repair itself. Adding additional stress on the sprain, such as standing or walking, can lead to pain, further swelling, and, even, additional injury. It’s a good policy to let the injured joint rest, then have a medical professional complete a thorough exam.
- I: “I” in the acronym stands for “ice” which refers to applying an ice-pack to the injured joint. Applying a cold pack helps control, or may even reduce, the swelling. Holding ice on the injury may help lessen the pain and inflammatory response caused by increased blood flow.
- C: The “C” in RICE stands for “compression“. When there is an increase in inflammation there is often an increase in fluid accumulation in the affected areas. This increase in fluids causes increased pain, reduced mobility, and lessened blood flow. Elastic compression helps control the amount of fluid that accumulates and reduces pain and swelling.
- E: The “E” in RICE represents “elevate“. Elevating the injured area helps promote blood flow return to the body. For example, a sprained ankle can be elevated to promote better blood flow to control the swelling and reduce the pain.
If you suffer an injury from a sports accident or from any daily activity, you should seek medical advice from a professional at one of Cleveland Emergency Hospital’s five locations. At Cleveland, you will be seen immediately, and your sprain or injury will receive a complete evaluation. In the meantime, immediately following your injury, some relief may be possible by following the RICE acronym. For an appointment call 281-419-2911 and speak with one of our professional staff. In the event you have an injury or need immediate assistance stop at any of our five convenient locations.