What does is stand for?
RICER is essentially first aid for soft tissue injuries such as ligament sprains or muscle tears.
Where used appropriately, RICER may reduce pain and swelling as well as decrease recovery time and prevent further injury.
Resting the injured part in a comfortable position is essential to prevent further injury and to allow healing to begin.
The application of ice to the injured area decreases the inflammatory response and pain, and limits internal bleeding at the injured site. Ice should be used for 10–15 minutes every 2 hours and then removed to allow the skin or affected area to return to a normal temperature before it is reapplied. Ice therapy should be continued for 48-72 hours.
Care should be taken to wrap the ice in a thin towel to prevent frostbite and to leave it on for no more than 20 minutes at a time.
Compressing the injured area is important to limit the swelling which occurs as a result of the inflammatory process. A non adhesive elastic bandage should be applied well beyond the injury. It is important that the bandage be snug, but not so tight that blood flow is impeded.
Unless you suspect a fracture, elevating the injured part also assists in reducing swelling. Elevation above the level of the heart is ideal.
After the initial first aid is applied, it is important to see a physiotherapist to establish a diagnosis, continue management and commence appropriate rehabilitation.