Chapter 3
  1. Get Fit, Stay Fit

105. Treat Sports Injuries with R.I.C.E.

Twisted ankles, painful joints, and stiff, sore muscles are some of the injuries most commonly caused by fitness activities. Continuing to exercise when injured can cause further damage and leave you laid up for weeks or months.

At the first sign of serious discomfort or pain, stop what you’re doing and apply R.I.C.E.—rest, ice, compression, and elevation. By following this easy-to-remember formula, you can avoid further injury and speed recovery.

  1. Rest the injured area for 24 to 48 hours.

  2. Ice the area as soon as possible and keep doing so for 10 minutes every 2 hours for the first 48 hours. Use an ice pack, ice in a heavy plastic bag with a little water, a bag of frozen vegetables, etc.

  3. Compress the area. Wrap it with an elastic bandage. Do not cut off circulation. Remove the bandage every 3 to 4 hours, for 15 to 20 minutes each time.

  4. Elevate the area above heart level if possible, to reduce swelling. Prop it up to keep it elevated while you sleep.

  5. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, if necessary.

Contact a physician if the following signs or symptoms occur.

  1. Severe pain and swelling.

  2. Numbness.

  3. Blue discoloration of the skin.

  4. Misalignment of the extremity.

  5. Inability to move the injured body part.