RICE is an acronym that stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
Step 1: Rest
Immediately rest the affected area as much as possible. Experts recommend 24 to 48 hours of no weight-bearing activities. Continued use of a moderate or severely sprained ankle can delay healing, increase pain, or even worsen the injury. With a mild sprain, activity is generally tolerated after 24 to 48 hours of rest.
Step 2: Ice
To help reduce pain and swelling during the first 48 hours after injury, ice the area 20 minutes at a time every 4 hours, using an ice pack covered in a towel. If you don’t have an ice pack handy, an alternative would be to use a bag of frozen peas, corn, or other veggies. Try not to ice the injury for more than 20 minutes at a time, as it may actually cause further tissue damage.
Step 3: Compression
Using an elastic medical bandage, wrap the area to help decrease swelling and internal bleeding (if present). The wrap should be snug, but make sure you have proper circulation. Some signs that the bandage is too tight include numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness, or swelling. If you think you need to use the wrap for more than 48 to 72 hours, you may have a more serious issue that requires prompt medical attention.
Step 4: Elevation
Raise the injured body part above heart level so that gravity can move fluids away from the injured area.