All About R.I.C.E.

The treatment of sprains and strains involves the “R.I.C.E.” method. You should take the advice of your orthopedic specialist before you begin this regimen. The following is a brief description of this treatment modality:

REST – Our orthopedic specialists consider the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury to be a critical treatment period and activities should be limited. You can gradually use the injured extremity, as long as your doctor advises it. Sometimes it is necessary for you to use a sling, splint, or crutches while the injured body part heals.

ICE – It is wise for you to apply ice to the sprain or strain for the first 48 hours after the injury. You do this for 20-minute intervals every 3 or 4 hours. Do not apply the ice directly to the skin; use a towel or soft cloth between the skin and the ice bag. One popular way to ice an area is to use a bag of frozen vegetables, such as peas or corn.

COMPRESSION – It is recommended by our orthopedic specialists that you used a compression wrap in early treatment of your sprain or strain. Wrap the ACE bandage over the region by one-half of the width of the wrap. Make sure this bandage is not too tight, as cutting off circulation to the extremity prevents healing. If your toes or fingers turn blue, cold, or tingle, re – wrap!

ELEVATION – As much as possible, you should elevate your sprain or strain. Our surgeons recommend that you make the elevation higher than your heart if possible. You can achieve elevation by placing pillows under your leg or arm.

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