Here at the Forge, we work with a lot of sports people to maintain their fitness, recover quickly after an event, or support their quest for a new personal best. However, we also offer rehabilitation after injuries. Our massage therapist Nicky McClean explains how RICE can help.
After an impact or trauma Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE) are advised for the next 48 hours.
No heat should be applied to the injured area – so that means no hot baths or showers; no massages; no hot water bottles or microwavable heat sacks; and no use of Deep Heat.
After 48 hours, ice and heat may be alternated in order to speed up healing. According to current First Aid guidelines, RICE breaks down like this:
REST: This is active rest. Stop the activity that caused the injury immediately, but also maintain as much pain-free movement as possible. This will improve blood flow and prevent the area tightening up completely.
ICE: This cools the tissues and reduces pain, swelling and bleeding. Apply a bag of peas or ice covered in a clean towel – or a gel ice pack, if you have one – to the area for 10 minutes every hour for 48 hours. Apply ice to the injury, not the injury to the ice – for example, don’t place the ice pack under your thigh as the weight of your limb can cause iceburn. Use ice gel from a tube (available from any large supermarket or chemist) only if the skin is unbroken.
COMPRESSION: This reduces bleeding and swelling and should be used in conjunction with icing for best results. Use a cotton tubular bandage to compress the area and roll the bandage up as far as the next joint. For example – if you have a sprained ankle, roll the bandage up to the knee.
ELEVATION: This prevents gravitational swelling and pooling of blood by keeping the injured area raised. For the foot, ankle and leg, this should be higher than the pelvis. For the hand, wrist and arm, this should be above the shoulder.
If the pain and/or swelling has not reduced significantly within 48 hours, consult your GP or book an appointment at The Forge Clinic. Nicky is available on Tuesdays and alternate Saturdays. Click here to book online.