Also known as: rest, ice, compression, elevation

What is RICE?

RICE is an acronym that stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. These are often the four measures that are recommended for at-home treatment immediately after a mild or moderate strain or sprain occurs in many different parts of the body.

What happens during the procedure?

The guidance for the different steps of RICE can vary based on the injury, but the basics are the same.

  1. First, rest the injured body part, and avoid using it as much as possible.
  2. Ice should be covered in a thin towel and placed on the injured area for 15 minutes once per hour to keep swelling down.
  3. Compression is often accomplished with an elastic bandage (Ace bandage) or brace around the injured area to further reduce swelling and keep the injury stable.
  4. Finally, while resting, keep the injured area elevated above heart level to further reduce swelling.

Is any special preparation needed?

No special preparation is needed to follow the steps of RICE. If the injury is severe or the steps of RICE are not effective, see your health care provider.

What are the risk factors?

Ice can potentially damage the skin if not wrapped in a thin towel. Also, take care to not wrap the compression bandage too tightly. 

Reviewed by: Craig Spurdle, MD

This page was last updated on: March 30, 2021 02:03 PM

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