Ice or Heat- How Do I treat an acute injury?
The most common soft tissue injuries involve muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These often occur during sports and exercise activities, but can occur with everyday activities of daily living. When an acute injury occurs, initial treatment should involve the RICE protocol. The hallmarks of the RICE protocol are: Rest, ice, compression, elevation.
Rest. Avoid the activity that caused the injury. If your ankle or knee is injured, this may involve using crutches to avoid putting weight on the injured leg.
Ice. Initial treatment following an acute injury should include use of ice for 20 minutes at a time several times per day. Heat should be avoided because it will increase swelling of the effected joint or extremity leading to worse or decreased mobility, function and greater pain.
Compression. Helps prevent additional swelling and can be accomplished by using an elastic compression bandage, ace wrap, or splint depending on the injured extremity.
Elevation. To reduce the swelling of the injured extremity, elevate the injury above the level of your heart while at rest.
If your symptoms persist despite the RICE measures, contact your orthopedic surgeon for further evaluation.