Rest Ice Compression Elevation

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Kyle


Most people sometime in their life get injured.  As foot pain sufferers it could have been an ankle sprain, plantar fasciitis, or tendonitis.  The immediate treatment for most of these types of injuries is RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)

  • Rest: The injured tissues in the ankle need time to heal.
  • Ice: Applying ice or cold packs can help ease pain and may reduce swelling.
  • Compression: Gentle compression pushes extra swelling away from the ankle. This is usually accomplished by using an elastic wrap or ankle support.
  • Elevation: Supporting your ankle above the level of your heart helps control swelling.

Step 1: Rest

As soon as you’re hurt, stop your activity, and rest as much as possible for the first 2 days. Doctors say you should avoid putting weight on the injured area for 24 to 48 hours. Resting also helps prevent further bruising.

Step 2: Ice

Ice is a tried-and-true tool for reducing pain and swelling. Apply an ice pack for 10 minutes, then remove for 10 minutes. Repeat this as often as possible for the first 24 to 48 hours after your injury. Don’t have an ice pack? A bag of frozen peas or corn will work just fine.

Step 3: Compression

This means wrapping the injured area to prevent swelling. Wrap the affected area with an elastic medical bandage (like an ankle brace). You want it to be snug but not too tight — if it’s too tight, it’ll interrupt blood flow. If the skin below the wrap turns blue or feels cold, numb, or tingly, loosen the bandage. If these symptoms don’t disappear right away, seek immediate medical help.

Step 4: Elevation

Raising the sore body part above the level of your heart. Doing so reduces pain, throbbing, and any internal bleeding that can lead to a bruise.  It’s not as tricky to do as you might think. For example, if you have an ankle sprain, you can prop your leg up on pillows while sitting on the sofa. The CDC recommends you keep the injured area raised whenever possible, even when you’re not icing it.

Variations on the R.I.C.E

“R.I.C.E” – Rest, Immobilize, Cold, Elevate
“H.I.-R.I.C.E” – Hydration, Ibuprofen, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation
“P.R.I.C.E” – Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation
“P.R.I.C.E.S” – Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, and Support
“P.R.I.N.C.E” – Protection, Rest, Ice, NSAIDs, Compression, and Elevation
“P.O.L.I.C.E” – Protection, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, and Elevation

Treatments Used With R.I.C.E

Your doctor may suggest using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (like ibuprofen or naproxen) along with the RICE treatment. These are available over the counter and by prescription.

Some Alternatives to R.I.C.E

Cold compression therapy, also known as hilotherapy, combines two of the principles of rest, ice, compression, elevation to reduce pain and swelling from an injury to soft tissues and is usually recommended by orthopedic surgeons following surgery. The therapy is especially useful for sprains, strains, pulled muscles and pulled ligaments.



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