Debunking the RICE Model of Soft Tissue Injuries

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

If you have never heard of the RICE acronym in reference to treatment of soft-tissue injuries, it stands for: Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. This widely known acronym has been around for years, and although it has been extremely effective in the beginning stages of the injury, it has recently been shown to be non-effective or even detrimental to the long term management to soft-tissue injuries such as ankle sprains or a pulled hamstrings. For all of you athletes and active individuals, we will break down each letter of the RICE model and teach you how to more effectively manage your injuries and get you back to 100%.


Rest

Immediately following a soft tissue injury, rest is an important step for roughly 1-3 days. Unloading the injured body part will allow for minimized bleeding and reduction of re-aggravation. However, after those first couple of days, rest should be minimized to allow for the body to promote proper tissue quality and strength. This will allow for new healthy nutrients to get back into the tissue for maximal recovery. This concept explains why hard casts for broken bones are becoming much more rare, while braces, splints, and slings are more commonplace. These methods allow for a proper amount of immobilization while still allowing for tissue healing, prevention of muscular atrophy and tissue malformation. If an injury does heal correctly the first time around, scar tissue may develop with a major loss of movement requiring much more vigorous rehab and treatment. Avoid any activi