RICE for Foot and Ankle Injuries


No, we are not talking about the grain, but rather, the RICE method. The letters R, I, C, and E in RICE method stand for: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. After a foot or ankle injury, applying the RICE method can help to relieve pain and swelling symptoms. It is used until the injury heals, or if symptoms do not get better, until you can be seen by a medical professional for further treatment.

Please note: For severe injuries, especially if you suspect a broken bone or torn ligament, you should seek prompt medical attention at urgent care or the emergency department.

For mild or moderate injuries, such as a bruise from a heavy object or a sprained ankle, or even pain from overuse injuries like Achilles tendonitis or Plantar fasciitis, the RICE method can be very effective. Read on for a more detailed description of each of the components of the RICE method:

“R” is for “Rest” - Stop what you are doing. Whether it is playing a sport, walking to work, or jogging in the park, you should immediately stop and assess your injured foot or ankle. If possible, do not put weight on it and if necessary, sit down to prevent further injury.

This can also apply to resting from the activity you are doing to allow your injury to fully heal. If you were playing a sport, you may have to sit out the rest of the game, or the season to fully “rest” your foot or ankle. If you are a ballet dancer, it may mean missing the next performance or more. Look at it this way: it’s better to miss a little now, than to risk not being able to do it at all.

“I” is for “Ice” - Apply a cold compress or ice on the injured are for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. This will prevent or reduce swelling and numb some of the pain.

“C” is for “Compression” - To promote healing and reduce or prevent swelling, you can use compression socks or bandages on the injured area. Even after a few hours, you can use compression to support your injured leg until it heals.

“E” is for “Elevation” - Whenever possible, keep your injury elevated above heart level (or at least level to your hip when you are sitting). This will also prevent or reduce swelling to the injured area.

Have you experienced an injury that won’t get better within a couple days? You should consult with our podiatrist, Dr. Jonathan M. Kletz, at Texas Foot Works. He will assess your foot or ankle injury to get you the right treatment. Make an appointment today at our offices located in Abrams (Dallas), Athens, and Gun Barrell City, TX!