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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
RICE therapy is a 4-step process used to reduce swelling and pain from an injury. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. RICE should be done within the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
How to use RICE therapy:
- Rest the injured area so that it can heal. You may need to avoid putting any weight on your injury for at least 48 hours. Return to normal activities as directed.
- Ice the injury for 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 to protect your skin. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
- Compress the injury with an elastic bandage, air cast, special boot, or splint to reduce swelling. Ask your healthcare provider which compression device to use, and how tight it should be.
- Elevate the injured area above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. If possible, prop the injured area on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your pain does not decrease, even after treatment.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have severe pain in the injured area.
- You have numbness in the injured area.
- You cannot put any weight on or move the injured area.
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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.