Why You Shouldn’t Do Rice for Sprains

Ankle sprain is a very common injury. Several thousand people sprain ankles every day. It can happen while you are doing sports, playing games or just walking uneven surface. If you don’t treat your ankle properly, it can cause bigger problems.

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Do you know exactly what the best treatment is?

Almost each doctor or sports trainer will tell you that RICE is the thing you need to do (Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevate.) It has been a common thing to treat sprained ankle, tensions and even breaks this way for years. But it turned out that this method is not so good.

What is wrong about it? “We kind of cringe,” says Robertson, an Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at Regis University. “Patients should start moving most sprained and strained joints soon after the injury, but a lot of doctors go too far in traditional prescription of RICE’,’ he notes, “This doesn’t reflect modern science.”

The matter is RICE reduces blood flow necessary for healing. When you use ice for the ankle, your body will isolate this part from blood in order to stay warm. It is comfortable to a patient, it calms the pain but it will not help you to recover. Elevation works the same, to slowdown the pressure of the blood.

But our body works in a way when blood should damage bad cells and generate new. This process will naturally heal you. It means you can leave your ankle as it is and wait but of course you can help it in some other ways, too.


We advise that you should use METH method instead of RICE. Movement, Elevation, Traction, and Heat – is a better option to treat sprains. Seems like it is the opposite for the treatment everybody have been doing for years. But we are still going to elevate the injury; the difference is we are doing this to control the blood flow, not to pause it.

Movement can hurt but it will be good for your ankle to do several small movements in order to get better blood traction there. Elevation will help to move blood from the ankle to the heart to flush inflammation and swelling.

Traction and its various techniques (gently pulling mostly) encourage healing as well — of course, you are not supposed to do this without special knowledge. And finally Heat is the thing that will be good for your ankle even in case you have used RICE in the very beginning. Heat encourages blood flow and will fasten your recovery. Don’t apply heat for more than 30 minutes.

Dr. Luciano Di Loreto, a health professional, finds this method very good for his patients who have ankle sprain/strains, lateral/medial epicondylitis, hamstring pulls and some other injuries.

It’s up to you to decide what treatments you will choose for yourself if you suddenly get injured: obsolete or modern. In any case, we wish you to get well as soon as possible.

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