First, Why RICE is Wrong
In 1978, The Sports Medicine Book, authored by Dr. Gabe Mirkin, introduced the concept of RICE – rest, ice, compression, elevation – for the treatment of athletic injuries. It makes sense to ice down an injury as soon as possible to limit swelling and maintain function, right? Well, not quite.
In 2014, Dr. Mirkin went on record debunking his own work pertaining to the ice portion of the RICE acronym for acute musculoskeletal injury management. Not only did the use of cryo-therapy not aid in the healing process, it actually delayed the healing process altogether.
And while he was at it, Dr. Mirkin also shed some light on his recommendation for complete rest after sustaining an injury. “With minor injuries, you can usually begin rehabilitation the next day,” said Mirkin.
Hey, if the guy who literally wrote the book on injury management is saying don’t restrict movement or ice an acutely injured area, we damn well better listen!
Do This Instead
It’s a good thing there were a few more letters in the RICE acronym that stood the test of time. Compression and elevation of acutely injured areas are still highly effective and should be prioritized after sustaining a low to moderate-level injury. Along the same lines, you might want to experiment with VooDoo Floss to drive out some of the swelling and work on mobility.
- Wrap above and below the patella with about 50 percent tension. Keep the knee a little bent during wrapping.
- Lay on your back with the knee on a bench.
- Now extend the knee with the toes pointed back toward you and flex it back down.
- After a few minutes of this, sit down into a bodyweight squat and move around in that position for about a minute. Then unwrap and access.