Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Ice Swollen Ankles

For 40 years, RICE has been the standard for treating sports injuries. However, new evidence suggests that it’s time to reconsider this treatment and see an ankle doctor in Conroe, TX. Keep reading to learn more from the Ankle & Foot Specialists.

The RICE Acronym

In his book The Sports Medicine Book, Dr. Gabe Mirkin used the acronym RICE to help coaches, nurses, and athletes remember how to treat injuries on the field. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. When an injury occurs, the first thing you’re supposed to do is rest. Suspend use of the injured part by sitting down or using a sling. If you continue using an injured arm or leg, you could do more damage. Next, apply ice to the injury. In theory, ice is supposed to help the healing process and reduce inflammation. Compression in the form of a brace or an elastic bandage is designed to support the injured part once the swelling has gone down. Finally, elevating the affected part also helps decrease inflammation by reducing blood flow to the area. This acronym has been the standard for treating sports-related injuries for the last 40 years, but new evidence is challenging this standard.    

The Case for Ice

In 2013, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association published a study on the managing and preventing sprained ankles. According to their observations, there’s little to suggest that applying ice helps the injury. Dr. Miriken, the creator of RICE also acknowledged these findings. He disclosed his revelations to Consumer Reports on Health. According to Mirken and the NATA, ice stops the healing process by restricting the flow of blood to the injured area. While inflammation is uncomfortable, the rush of blood to the area is necessary. Blood delivers iron and other nutrients needed to begin the healing process. Ice provides temporary pain relief by numbing the injured area. To avoid frostbite and permanent damage, remove the ice after 20 minutes. Apply it again as needed every 2-3 hours. Seek professional help as soon as possible with a foot specialist in Conroe, TX.

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