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R.i.c.e. Treatment


R.I.C.E. treatment is a 4-step process used to decrease swelling and pain caused by an injury. R.I.C.E. stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. R.I.C.E. should be done within 24 to 48 hours after an injury.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your pain is severe.
  • You have severe swelling or deformity.
  • You have numbness in the injured area.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your pain and swelling does not go away after a few days.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

How to use R.I.C.E. treatment:

  • Rest your injured area as directed. You may need to stop using, or keep weight off, the injury for 48 hours or longer. Your healthcare provider may recommend crutches or another device. Return to your usual activities as directed.
  • Apply ice on your injured area for 15 to 20 minutes every 4 hours or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Compress , or keep pressure on, the injured area. Compression will help decrease swelling and support the injured area. Use an elastic bandage, air stirrup, splint, or sling as directed. If you use an elastic bandage to wrap your injured area, make sure the bandage is not too tight.
  • Elevate the injured area above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop the injured area on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.