Different Varieties Of RICE: Why Your Ankle Injury Treatment May Be Changing

If you've ever hurt your leg, ankle, or foot, you've likely used RICE to soothe the pain. RICE, or Rest Ice Compression Elevation, is a standard protocol for treating most limb injuries. However, it's come under some scrutiny because it leaves out other helpful strategies. RICE is definitely better than nothing if you've hurt your ankle, but you may want to discuss some alternatives with your doctor when you go in for ankle injury treatment.


One basic change is the addition of protection to the protocol, so you have PRICE instead of RICE. Protection involves a splint or brace that keeps the joint still. You can still move your leg, but you don't have to worry about accidentally twisting the joint further. Another change associated with PRICE is that the icing stage is shorter. Using ice too much could make it harder for the injury to heal, so limit the ice to just a day or so.

Optimal Loading

A different take is that, while ice should be used in moderation, you should try to use the injured limb instead of resting it. Certainly, right after an accident, some rest is probably inevitable as you process what's going on. But you should try to add in optimal loading as part of the POLICE protocol (Protection Optimal Loading Ice and so on), meaning you should get moving as soon as you feel able to. You don't want to stress out the injured limb; don't put your full weight on an injured ankle, for example. But don't leave the limb immobile for more than a few hours if you can help it. Keeping it mobile and putting some weight on it can help it heal. Do discuss optimal loading with your doctor first to ensure you don't overdo it.

You Might Need MEAT

One more acronym to pay attention to is MEAT, or Movement Exercise Analgesia Therapy. This is a rather general one, but it can be helpful in many cases. Keeping the injured limb moving so that it doesn't stiffen up (again, this is after the immediate aftermath of the injury, so you don't have to start moving right after you get injured), trying to do light exercise (only if okayed by your doctor), taking over-the-counter pain medicine, and getting whatever other treatment is necessary forms the basis for MEAT.

Whatever therapy you choose, you have to see a doctor quickly to ensure that all you're dealing with is a sprain or strain, and not something worse. Contact your doctor for an appointment as soon as possible after the injury occurs.

About Me

Keeping My Feet Healthy

When I got into running, I realized that taking care of my feet was going to be important. Instead of getting pedicures from sketchy nail salons, I started visiting with my podiatrist on a regular basis. In addition to teaching me how to care for running callouses and cut my toenails, he also gave me tips that really helped my feet to stay comfortable on the road. This blog is dedicated to runners who need to keep their feet healthy. Check out these articles for ideas on how your podiatrist could help you to keep those toes pristine--no matter how you choose to exercise.

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