RICE – four letters that still address most sporting injuries

RICE – four letters that still address most sporting injuries

by Pamela Ng 25 Feb 2020

Once in a while, no matter how careful we are, an injury can occur in the midst of an exercise or during training. At that point in time, recovery becomes of utmost importance.


RICE is an abbreviation for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. It serves as a general guideline for rest and recovery. We say “general” because recent studies have suggested improving upon RICE as a treatment protocol. Despite this, RICE can still help to address most common sports injuries.



In order to not further any strain or injury, rest is compulsory. Taking a break from exercising can help the injured muscles or body parts to recover. However, contrary to the notion of getting plenty of rest, studies have shown that early mobilisation can help to improve the condition faster and allow the person to revert to their daily activities. At the same time, it is important to note that one should only mobilise themselves gradually and not in a burst of motion.



Although taking a proper amount of painkillers such as NSAIDs can help to reduce the pain, all drugs have side effects. Hence, the most effective and safest way to decreasing pain and swelling to apply a cold pack. Do not put ice directly on your skin as the direct contact can cause frostbite; wrap in a plastic bag or bundle it in a cloth.



Wrapping the injured part of the body can help to reduce swelling. Be careful not to wrap too tightly, otherwise there will be less blood circulation and lead to numbness and more pain.



Raising the injured area to the level of your heart can help to reduce swelling. Coupled with icing, it can help to provide a significant amount of relief.


Injuries are unfortunate, but like most things in life, it is something that needs to be toughed out. RICE is simple to understand and easy to follow, and it can be an effect way of administering immediate treatment in a safe and effective fashion. However, it is also important to also know how you obtain the injury so you can avoid a repeat occurrence in the future!