Orthopaedic Injuries: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (R.I.C.E.)

Orthopaedic injuries can require surgery to bring desired results. However, there are several types of orthopaedic injuries that can be successfully treated without surgery. If you have sustained an injury through exercise, an accident or a work related incident, it is possible that four simple steps could decrease the severity of your injury, leading to a successful recovery.

Rest, ice, compression and elevation, also known as R.I.C.E., are basic yet extremely effective steps for alleviating pain and swelling from an orthopaedic injury. The key to this treatment approach is using the steps as soon as possible after sustaining an injury. Putting these steps to use might seem simple, but it is always important to seek the advice or a physician or orthopaedic surgeon before trying to treat injuries on your own.

R.I.C.E.

Rest (R):

The first step to implementing R.I.C.E. is simply resting. While easy in theory, this can be very challenging for many people. Whether you are an athlete, an active parent or have a physical occupation, taking time to rest your injured body part can seem impossible. Keep in mind that the sooner you are able to heal completely, the sooner you can safely return to your normal daily routine.

Ice (I):

The second part of this process is pretty self explanatory. Icing your injured body part helps reduce inflamation and brings physical relief. One important thing to remember when applying ice to your body is to never apply it directly to the skin. Always use a cloth or towel as a barrier between your ice pack and your body to avoid damaging the skin. Apply ice for about 10-15 minutes at a time. Repeat this process about 3-4 times a day.

Compression (C):

Another important element is wrapping your injured body part with an elastic bandage. This can also help to reduce swelling as long as you are careful not to wrap it too tightly. If you are unsure how to wrap the injured area appropriately, always consult your doctor or orthopaedic surgeon to avoid worsening the injury.

Elevation (E):

Just as important as resting, elevating your injured body part can help lessen swelling. Use a pillow or something similar to keep the impacted area at or above the level of your heart.

Orthopaedic injuries are both painful and frustrating. Some of these injuries require surgery, physical therapy and a long recovery process. If you find yourself suffering from an orthopaedic injury, using R.I.C.E. can be a good first step to treating your condition. Always remember to follow-up with your physician or orthopaedic surgeon to discuss treatment options.

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