When you’ve got muscle aches or joint pains, there’s nothing better than rest, ice, compression, and elevation for immediate treatment.
R.I.C.E measures can relieve pain, reduce swelling, and protect damaged tissues, all of which speed healing.
The only problem with RICE is that too many runners focus on the “I” while ignoring the “RCE.”
Ice reduces inflammation, but to ice-and-run, ice-and-run, without giving the tissues enough time to heal, is a little like dieting every day until 6 p.m. and then pigging out.
And so Bruce Wilk, an orthopedic rehabilitation specialist, has added another letter to the acronym, spelling out PRICE. The P stands for “protection,” which means don’t run until the injury is better.
RICE ACTION PLAN
RICE is most effective when done immediately following an injury. If you twist your ankle or strain your hamstring, plan to take a few days off from running (see Law 2).
Apply ice to the injury for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, several times a day. A homemade ice packa baggie filled with ice cubes and wateris best. A bag of frozen vegetables is also effective. If you can, elevate the area (easy for foot and ankle injuries, not so much for hip or hamstring issues) to limit swelling.
Compression can also further reduce inflammation and can provide pain relief, especially when you first return to running. A bandage is the simplest way to wrap a swollen area, but Amol Saxena, a sports podiatrist, uses a compression dressing with 3M Coban, a self-adherent over-the-counter product. He then uses Kinesio Tex Tape or a Darco Body Armor Walker for when the swelling goes down. “The tape pulls up the skin slightly, allowing more blood to flow to the injured area,” he says.
INJURY PREVENTION LAWS:
5. RICE Works