R.I.C.E. Protocol for the ankle and foot

By By: Matt Paulus, MS, ATC


What do I do for a swollen foot and ankle?

The foot and ankle work together to provide support and mobility to the rest of the body. So what happens when you sprain your foot or ankle?
Foot and ankle sprains occur when the ligaments that connect bone to bone are pulled, stretched, or torn. This often happens during sports or recreational activity and tripping or stumbling on uneven ground.
Symptoms of a sprained foot or ankle include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty walking. You should use the acronym RICE in self-care of your sprained foot or ankle:

Rest – rest or immobilize the affected area, and stay off of it until is can be evaluated so as not to make the injury worse.

Ice – Ice the foot or ankle as soon as possible for 15-20 minutes, and reapply ice every 3-4 hours for the first 48 hours of injury.

Compression – Wrap an elastic bandage (Ace wrap) around the affected foot or ankle. This should be snug, but not tight enough to cut off circulation.

Elevation – Elevate the foot and ankle with a couple of pillows. Ideally the area should be higher than your heart.  Elevation after an injury is very important to keep the swelling under control.

RICE Protocol | JOI

RICE Protocol

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