I was preparing for my first 5K race for cancer research and sprained my ankle! I was told to do RICE. I didn’t want to admit that I was ignorant about it, so could you please explain. (Doris, West Islip)
Sometimes in our zeal for a new activity or more intense version, we overdo it, get overly fatigued, leading to injury. It is a good idea to schedule rest days in-between training days- to pace yourself. RICE stands for:
- Rest: Cease any activity that causes pain, discomfort or swelling. Don’t work through it!
- Ice: Apply ice on the injured area immediately, but not for more than 20 to 30 minutes at a time and wrap the ice so that it doesn’t burn your skin.
- Compression: Wrap the injured area in an elastic bandage until the swelling stops.
- Elevation: Keep the injured area raised, especially at night.
When you return to normal activity, baby your ankle for awhile with a tight elastic ankle sock (sized according to your ankle) or air-cast to hold it in place and prevent a re-injury.
If the symptoms persist longer than 2 weeks or get progressively worse, consult your physician. Remember, it is not about the shape you’re in, but understanding the demands of your sport or how activity impacts on your body. Flexibility, nutrition and proper training will prepare you for these endeavors.