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Use ‘RICE’ to treat sports injuries before going to the doctor

Aches and pains can be a part of enjoying an active lifestyle.  A sore knee hear, an aching shoulder or a pain your heel: if you play sports or exercise regularly, these are bound to happen from time to time.  So when do you go to the doctor?  

First, ask yourself, “How long has this been going on?” If it’s just a couple of days, try these simple tips first:

  • Rest –Give the injured area a break.
  • Ice – Apply an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables, covered in a towel, to the area for 15-20 minute intervals.  Weight until the skin warms to apply again.
  • Compression – Wrap the swollen area with an ACE bandage.  Compression can help limit or reduce swelling. Swelling can delay healing.
  • Elevation – Elevate the injured area to help control swelling.  The goal is to raise the injury above the level of the heart.  

“If you’ve tried these treatments with little or no results, it may be time to consult a physician,” said Dr. John Williams with Nashville Medical Group at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital.  “Pain and swelling should start to reduce after 48 hours.  If you see no improvement during that time, make an appointment with your primary care physician.” 

Need a primary care physician?  Call 1-800-DOCTORS for a free physician referral.   

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