Ever wonder why NASCAR is such an expensive sport? The drivers push their equipment to the very edge of its performance envelope, giving 100% to reach the finish line first, and the equipment is rebuilt from the ground up after every race. Sadly, we can’t rebuilt our bodies the same way.
Keep in mind this is not intended to constitute a diagnosis or long-term treatment. The RICE formula is intended for first aid only, and assumes the injury doesn’t involve serious sprains or broken bones.
Rest the injured area. If you twisted your ankle, get off your feet. If your elbow is injured, bend it as little as possible. The idea is to limit the amount of further damage once you realize you have an injury. This involves some self-honesty and knowing the difference between hurting and injured.
Apply cold to the injured area. Re-useable cold packs are great if they are already frozen, but you can use a bag of ice, frozen peas, or anything else in the freezer that will conform to the shape of the body part. Keep a barrier between your skin and the cold source. A thin towel or t-shirt works well. You are trying to reduce the swelling in the injured area by constricting the vessels supplying blood to the immediate area. Initial swelling can lead to blood clots in the blood stream later on, as well as being painful immediately.
Use an Ace bandage or a good compression sleeve around the injured area. Be sure you don’t wrap so tightly that you cut off circulation further down the extremity. If your fingers or toes are turning purple, the wrap is far too tight. You are trying to reduce swelling by limiting the physical space available for swelling.
Elevate the injured area above the level of your heart. If your ankle is sprained, lie on your back and put the injured foot up on a bag or bench. If your ankle is injured, raise it above your shoulder. You are trying to reduce swelling by limiting the amount of blood getting to the general area of the injury.
Once you have the immediate swelling under control, give your body some time to heal. Reduce the swelling in the injured area will speed healing and allow you to get back to doing what you love sooner. Contact us for more ways of providing long-term stabilization and compression, allowing you to give 100% with less fear of injuries.