Is RICE still the formula?

Is RICE still the formula?

physiotherapy treatment

Is RICE still the formula?

RICE – which stands for REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, ELEVATION – has long been the formula for recovery after an acute injury such as an ankle sprain.  However, new evidence is mounting that the I in RICE (ICE) may not necessarily be a mandatory component, and, in fact, might even be detrimental to recovery.

Options for cross training
Vary rehabilitation with strength, balance, agility exercises
Easing back to activity early

Some recent literature has suggested that lying on the couch with an ice pack can actually restrict blood flow and can lead to muscle and tissue atrophy. Further, ice may be good at dulling pain but it can also delay healing. Ice is a vasoconstrictor and inhibits the natural inflammatory response needed to begin healing.

In any case, the research is still inconclusive, and there remains some debate about the use of ice as the standard treatment post-injury.  Remember that all injuries are different, and you should always seek the advice of your healthcare providers to determine the best course of action for your rehabilitation.

The Vancouver Sun newspaper recently published a great summary of this debate here:


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