R.I.C.E. Protocol

RICE is an acronym that explains how to treat soft tissue injuries.  It stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.  It helps minimize discomfort and expedite the recovery process.  RICE is a good first aid treatment immediately following an injury.  When we injure soft tissue, like muscles, tendons and cartilage, our body has an inflammatory response that protects the damaged area.  But this response can go too far if not dealt with.  The inflammatory response can hinder the healing process by preventing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the damaged tissue.

REST: Without rest, a continual strain is placed on the injured tissue, causing increased inflammation, pain and possible further injury.  The proper amount of rest  will prevent the injured tissue from healing incorrectly.

ICE: Ice will help reduce inflammation, and therefore the damage that can come with it.  Ice limits the blood flow to the damaged area by causing the blood vessels to constrict, this limits the inflammatory response.  The best methods for icing are to start immediately after the injury, 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for the first 24-48 hours.

COMPRESSION: After an injury occurs and is not treated properly, there is a large amount of swelling from blood pooling in the area.  This limits function, and the overall healing process.  Compression of the site immediately after an injury prevents too much swelling, although some is inevitable and necessary.

ELEVATION: The goal of elevation is to reduce swelling by draining the excess fluid from the site of injury and returning it to normal circulation.


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