Rest, Ice, Compression, and elevation images of injury treatment

Injuries, unfortunately, happen, from minor sprains, strains and bruises to more serious ones requiring hospitalization and medical care. Parachute’s National Injury Prevention Day is a day dedicated to raising awareness around the importance of injury prevention.

Many injuries, thankfully, are minor, often occurring through sports related activities. These injuries may be caused by tripping, falling, twisting, incorrect lifting of weights or repetitive movements. Most are soft tissue injuries for which doctors recommend the use of the RICE treatment.

RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Immediately after a mild or moderate injury, you may try the following treatment for 24 – 48 hours.

“Rest the injured area. Avoid moving it and try to keep weight off it. Use splints, braces, canes, or crutches when available.

Ice the injury for 20 minutes four to eight times a day. This is especially necessary within the first three days. Never allow ice to touch the skin directly.

Compression is effective for up to one week. Wrap the bandage tightly enough to support the area, without cutting off the blood flow.

Elevation reduces swelling and bruising by making it more difficult for blood to reach the injury. Experts say it is best to elevate the area for 2 – 3 hours a day.”

As the injury heals, resume your normal activities carefully. More serious soft tissue injuries (those where the area is misshapen or numb, if you cannot bear weight on the injured part or if it is a recurring injury) or those with broken bones require immediate medical attention.

Although some reviews of studies have questioned the effectiveness of compression, elevation and treatment for mild to moderate soft tissue injuries.