As soon as possible after an injury, such as a knee or ankle sprain,
you can relieve pain and swelling and promote healing and flexibility with
RICE—Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
Rest. Rest and protect the
injured or sore area. Stop, change, or take a break from any activity that may
be causing your pain or soreness.
will reduce pain and swelling. Apply an ice or cold pack immediately to prevent
or minimize swelling. Apply the ice or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or
more times a day. After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, apply heat to the
area that hurts. Do not apply ice or heat directly to the skin. Place a towel
over the cold or heat pack before applying it to the skin.
Compression. Compression, or wrapping the injured or sore area
with an elastic bandage (such as an Ace wrap), will help decrease swelling.
Don't wrap it too tightly, since this can cause more swelling below the
affected area. Loosen the bandage if it gets too tight. Signs that the bandage
is too tight include numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness, or swelling
in the area below the bandage. Talk to your health professional if you think
you need to use a wrap for longer than 48 to 72 hours; a more serious problem
may be present.
Elevation. Elevate the
injured or sore area on pillows while applying ice and anytime you are sitting
or lying down. Try to keep the area at or above the level of your heart to help
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.