RICE is a simple self-care technique that helps reduce swelling and ease pain from minor injuries. It is commonly used as a first-aid treatment for soft tissue or sports injuries like a sprained ankle or wrist, swollen knee, or muscle strains.

R.I.C.E. stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Doing these things can help limit pain and swelling after an injury, in some cases it can aid in healing more quickly.  R.I.C.E. should begin as soon as possible after an injury.


Pain is your body’s way of telling you to rest an injured area. Whether you have hurt an elbow, hand, foot, or knee, limiting its use will prevent further injury, ease the pain, and help you heal.


Applying ice right after an injury helps prevent swelling and reduce pain. Don’t place ice directly on your skin.

  • Wrap a cold pack or bag of ice in a thin cloth. Place it over the injured area.
  • Ice for 10 minutes every 3 hours. Don’t ice for more than 20 minutes at a time.


Putting pressure (compression) on an injury helps prevent swelling and provides support.

  • Wrap the injured area firmly with an elastic bandage. If your hand or foot tingles, becomes discolored, or feels cold to the touch, the bandage may be too tight. Rewrap it more loosely.
  • If your bandage becomes too loose, rewrap it.
  • Do not wear an elastic bandage overnight.


Keeping an injury raised helps reduce swelling, pain, and throbbing. It also speeds healing. Elevate the injured area whenever possible.

Most doctors recommend that you stop icing after 48 hours as it can delay healing at that point. If you have any of the following signs or symptoms, contact your doctor right away:

  • severe pain or swelling that gets worse or doesn’t go away and is not improved with elevation
  • Fingers or toes feel numb, are cold to the touch, or change color
  • Skin looks shiny or tight

Advantage Orthopedic & Sports Medicine has same-day appointments for urgent medical needs. Please call us – we’ll fit you in!


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