RICE stands for rest, ice,
compression, and elevation. Doing these things helps limit pain and swelling after
injury. RICE also helps injuries heal faster. Use RICE for sprains, strains, and severe
bruises or bumps. Follow the tips on this handout and begin RICE as soon as possible
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 and help you heal.
Applying ice right after an injury
helps prevent swelling and reduce pain. Don’t place ice directly on your skin.
Use a cold pack. Or make an
ice pack by putting ice cubes in a plastic bag that seals at the top. Wrap the
cold pack or ice pack in a thin cloth. Place it over the injured area.
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.
Don't wear an elastic bandage
Keeping an injury elevated helps
reduce swelling, pain, and throbbing. Elevation is most effective when the injury
kept elevated higher than the heart.
When to call your healthcare provider
Call your healthcare provider if
you notice any of the following:
Fingers or toes feel numb,
tingly, are cold to the touch, or change color.
Skin looks shiny or
Pain, swelling, or bruising
gets worse and isn't improved with elevation.
- Signs of infection. These include warm skin, redness, fluid
leaking, or bad smell coming from the injured body part.