I’ll have RICE with that sprain…

I’ll have RICE with that sprain…

Anyone who has had an injury can attest that it takes forever to heal. The pain and the swelling can be so bad at times that it can wake you from a sound sleep. As a former soccer player, I’ve had my fair share of injuries that needed more than just an Advil. Joints are more susceptible to swelling injuries than any other part of the body. Due to their mobility, when struck or torqued, they have damaging results to the soft tissue. Immediately following an injury, the body responds by sending nutrients, white blood cells and fluid to the area to aid in repair. Although inflammation’s presence is vital for repair, it is also the enemy to many athletes. Acute injuries are much easier to detect. But what about the chronic cases? Here are some of the signs to look for.


Inflammation is denoted by the presence of four Latin words, —Rubor (redness), Calor (heat), Tumor (swelling), and Dolor (pain). They were described in the 1st century ad by the Roman medical writer Aulus Cornelius Celsus. Dilation of small blood vessels in the area of injury lead to the redness. Increased blood flow through the area attributes to the heat of the area and is experienced only in peripheral parts of the body such as the skin. Swelling, called edema, is caused primarily by the accumulation of fluid outside the blood vessels. The Dolor is associated with inflammation as in part from the distortion of tissues caused by edema.

As we’ve said before, inflammation is the enemy. How do we combat it? By following the acronym RICE. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Here’s how they work:

R- Rest and protect the area. For a time, refrain from the activity (ies) that may aggravate the injury. 20 minutes every two hours for the initial 48 hours, and then 3-4 times per day following.

I – Ice the area. Ice will reduce the inflammation and pain in the area by dilating blood vessels and providing an analgesic effect.untitled-design-11

C- Compression (wrapping the area) with either a sleeve or a wrap will also reduce the swelling and provide stabilization of the joint. One way to maximize ice usage is to use a wrap to compress the ice to the injured area,.

E- Elevation above the heart also aids in the reduction of inflammation. By allowing gravity to work in our favor, the swelling is able to dissipate to other regions.

I hope this helps. If you are ever faced with an injury, whether an injury to a joint or other body region, remember the acronym RICE. It will definitely reduce your recovery time significantly.