One of the most effective at home treatments for sports injuries, the RICE method is an acronym that stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. For sprains, strains and minor sports injuries, the RICE method can be utilized as a conservative treatment.
Rest is important for injuries involved with overuse, repetition or intense training with little or no conditioning. Avoiding the activities that caused the injury and giving the body time to heal is extremely important.
Ice should be used for inflammation and swelling. A cold compress can be created from a bag of frozen peas, a ziploc bag filled with ice, or a towel soaked in cold water. Cold therapy should only be applied in fifteen minute increments, and care should be taken to always place a layer of fabric between the skin and the cold pack to avoid injury to the skin.
Compression can help support the injury and decrease swelling. Simply wrapping the injury with an ace bandage is sufficient, but care must be taken to not wrap the injury too tightly and cut off circulation, as this can cause damage to the circulatory system and the skin.
Lastly, elevation can help as blood naturally flows to the area of injury to promote healing, but this can cause inflammation and swelling. Elevating the injured body part will cause the blood to flow away from the injury, decreasing inflammation, pain and swelling.
If you suffer a sports injury that is not healing within a few days time, or the pain suddenly becomes severe, it is important to schedule an appointment at Arizona Bone and Joint Specialists as soon as possible.