No RICE? [treatment of athletic injuries] What say you professionals on this new advice regarding the application of ice on injuries?

IANAP, but I think that the findings of a single study do not warrant changing a technique that has apparently worked successfully for years. It does, though, warrant further study. There may be advantages to using ice that are not clearly understood.

You might message a Moderator about changing the title, as I certainly thought it was about the food rice.

I put "RICE’ in all caps, but the moderator can amend the title if he so wishes.

I might note that it has been known that ice and steroids impede the healing process. Steroids is another topic by itself. However, altho ice slows down the healing, I’ve been under the impression that because it reduces inflammation (which is induced by the healing process) and swelling, it is to be used for the first day or two.

Moderator Note

Title edited to make the topic clear for those unfamiliar with the acronym.

When I broke a bone in my foot a couple years back, the orthopedist actually recommended I avoid NSAIDs (as my first instinctive reaction had been to nosh on a couple Advil tablets), because they seem to be implicated in reducing bone healing.

He did, however, encourage me to ice it for the first few days.

My (unedicated) take on this all: inflammation is part of the body’s reaction to an injury and part of its healing process. However, the body can get a bit… overenthusiastic about things as anyone with asthma, allergies, or any of a constellation of autoimmune diseases would attest. So it’s a tradeoff: ice, NSAIDs etc. can tone down the overenthusiastic response, but can also slow the healing process, and must be balanced.

The body’s pain reaction is partly to send the message that “this hurts, so don’t DO it, you moron”. So Rest and Elevation make eminent sense to me.

The linked article says compression is OK too, but I have to wonder - the swelling is part of the inflammatory reaction which is good, but over enthusiastic swelling causes pain in and of itself (and to no good end that I can see, plus excess swelling can do damage in and of itself). Compression a few days afterward, e.g. for support, might be a different thing.

I’m terrible about consistently icing injuries, so I’m just going to take this opportunity to say “See, I knew this all along.”

A football player was notably saved from possible paralysis when the trainers administered ice cold saline immediately after the injury to prevent swelling. The player was not paralyzed and the doctors credited it to the cold.