An acronym for rest, ice, compression, and elevation, a standard treatment regimen for tendonitis, bursitis, and injuries like sprained ankles. Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons, the cord-like structures that attach muscles to bones. Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa, the small sacs that act as cushions between moving structures such as muscles and bones. Either condition can affect the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, or ankle.
In the RICE regimen, rest means reducing your activity, especially weight-bearing activities and those that cause pain, and sitting or lying down. Rest may also include using a bandage, brace, or splint to keep the affected body part from moving.
Ice refers to applying a cold pack to the area of inflammation, typically for 10-20 minutes several times a day. Since applying ice directly to the skin may cause ice burns, experts recommend wrapping the ice pack or a bag of ice cubes or frozen vegetables in a towel before applying it to the skin. Compression involves snugly wrapping an elastic compression bandage around the inflamed area to provide support and reduce swelling. Elevation means propping up the affected area, such as a foot or wrist, above waist level to reduce swelling. In addition to RICE, most health experts recommend taking a nonprescription pain reliever. If the pain worsens or does not improve over time, seek medical attention.