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Sprained Ankle Treatment – Why You Shouldn’t Use the RICE Method

Sprained Ankle Treatment – Research is starting to show that icing may be detrimental after a joint sprain! When considering a treatment for a sprained ankle everyone has been told to ice  it, the RICE method (rest, ice, compression elevate), but that may not be the right thing to do after all.


I know, that sounds like heresy.  In my opinion ice as a sprained ankle treatment is in the same category of research that was debunking the tradition of blood-letting, which was once thought to be the best way to eliminate poisons from the body.

The acronym RICE was coined in 1978 by Dr. Gabe Mirkin in his bestselling book Sports Medicine Book. After recently saying, “there is no data to show that ice does anything more than block pain,” Dr. Mirkin has stated “RICE is just something that stuck—and it’s wrong.”  Dr. Mirkin adds, “I’m partially responsible for this misinformation.”

This new information was reported in an interesting article which you can read it in its entirety and discover more information about a new “ice paradigm” treatment for a sprained ankle.

Bahram Jam, DScPT, has given even more evidence that we need to re-think using ice as a treatment for a sprained ankle.

Research Evidence Against the RICE Method:


In a published research article:  Influence of Icing on Muscle Regeneration after Crush Injury to Skeletal Muscles in Rats, a comparison was made between icing and not icing. The results are interesting.

The final summary sentence from the above-mentioned study published in The Journal of Applied Physiology is, “Judging from these findings, it might be better to avoid icing, although it has been widely used in sports medicine.”

Just like buggy-whips and blood-letting have gone the way of the dinosaurs, perhaps icing is the next debunked treatment for a sprained ankle!

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