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RICE to the rescue

May 29th, 2012
Zoë Sophos
R.I.C.E. method for injury recovery

Summer’s long, warm days are the perfect opportunity to spend endless hours out on the tennis court, but with long hours comes a greater chance of injury. If an errant ball underfoot leaves a player with pain and swelling, chief of sports medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s Columbia University Medical Center Dr. William Levine recommends the R.I.C.E. method, a first aid technique for dealing with sprains, strains and joint injuries. 

  • Rest: If injured at any time, do not try to play through the pain. Stop the activity immediately and rest.
  • Ice: During the 24 to 48 hours following the accident, apply ice packs to the injured area for 15 minutes every other hour. Use a towel or cloth to prevent the ice from coming in direct contact with skin.
  • Compress: Bandage the injured area securely to stop bleeding and reduce swelling.
  • Elevate:  Elevating the injured area to above heart-level will also help slow bleeding and swelling.

Levine says that injuries should always be checked with a physician to ensure proper rehabilitation. Still, avoiding injuries altogether is the best scenario. Levine recommends a proper warm up before playing sports, taking sufficient breaks and listening to your body to keep yourself healthy and on the court as long as possible.