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Sports Injury Treatment – The R.I.C.E Method

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One can’t deny the consequences that any sports injury has on the players. They are painful. You can get side-lined for a good period of time. And no matter what sport you play, it is unavoidable and hence the treatment and the time which it takes. It doesn’t have to be the sports field always. It can be your backyard and even the road-side.
Acute injuries take place when you stretch a muscle beyond its level of elasticity. It might lead to a ligament tear or even a sprain which causes pain for weeks. But when it comes to minor injuries, you don’t always need a professional or a doctor to treat it. You can just follow some basic treatments and some rehabilitation strategies. Here we chalk out the treatment for you.

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After Your Injury

Immediately after sustaining a muscle injury, you will notice swelling and bruising. You may also experience sharp pain sometimes. The affected part may get sensitive to movement and become tender to touch. It is best to avoid sharp movements or lifting any kind of weight.
R.I.C.E. is an abbreviation that many athletes, sports trainers and “physiotherapist” use to remember when giving a treatment to minor injuries.


This is the first and foremost thing to remember when starting to recover from any sort of “sports injury”. Your affected muscles are prone to further injury if not taken care properly in the initial period. Hence it is always advisable to constrict movement during the first few hours.


Such injuries always lead to swellings which further increases the pain. To reduce and prevent swelling, you should use ice. The effects are best when it is done within 1-2 days of sustaining the injury. By applying ice to the affected area, you decrease the blood flow to the muscles which helps relieve the pain. But never apply it directly to the bare skin. You can also use a bag of crushed ice, a bag of frozen veggies if you don’t have an ice pack. You can wrap it in a thin cloth or towel and then apply it for 15-20 minutes. You must take breaks to allow your skin to return to normal temperature condition before applying it again.


Muscle injuries can also lead to the building up of fluids which hinders the recovery from any type of “injury in sports”. A bandage, preferably elastic can be wrapped around your injury. It minimizes the movement in that area and also eases pain by not allowing the fluid to gather around the affected area.
You shouldn’t wear it too tight also as the goal is just to compress it a little and keep fluid from collecting. If it feels uncomfortable, remove it and wrap it more loosely.

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Elevating the injury above the heart level restricts the flow of blood to the area and also drains the injured part of the harmful fluids that keep collecting. If you can’t raise it above level of your heart, you can try to keep at the same level as your heart or close to it.

A day later

You may see the skin turning deep purple or black due to the swelling. The day after the injury is the most painful so it is highly recommended that you continue following the R.I.C.E treatment for the first days. You should also take care that you don’t apply heat to the area. Though it may feel soothing, it may worsen the situation.
If you experience pain, you can take anti-inflammatory pain-killers such as aspirin. During this whole time, you should keep the injured area wrapped with the bandage and regularly apply ice every few hours.

Some Days Later (after 3-4 days)

By this time, your pain and swelling will likely begin to subside. Once your swelling starts going down, you can start applying “alternate heat packs” along with ice. As said before, it promotes the circulation of blood which helps in the healing process.
The color of your skin will also start coming to normal which signifies the reduction of swelling. Hence, you can minimize the usage of bandage now and even start exercising a bit. You should always start with stretching and then move the affected part a little. You will notice the increase in the motion and flexibility with time.

After a Month

Now you may feel pain at times but it will not remain for long though the tenderness may still last. You can continue using the alternative heat and ice packs so as to comfort the affected area and relieve pain. You should now continue to stretch and exercise the injured area. Proper exercises and moderate actions can help prevent fatal injuries. And once your injury heals, you can always return to your daily fitness or sports routine.
It is not unusual to get injured. If it is a minor one then you can always follow the R.I.C.E method to treat yourself. But it is always advisable to see a doctor if there is severe swelling, pain or the stiffness still persists.

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Along with “treating sports related injuries”, we at Dr Morepen NOW also provide physiotherapy in South Delhi with a special focus on heart disease and cardiac rehabilitation. “Physiotherapy led Cardiac Rehabilitation” programs are clinically effective for increasing mobility, improving health and enhancing quality of life.

You can contact us at 09711552222 to know more.

July 2017

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