At Paul S. DeMarco, DPM, we see many podiatric injuries that could have healed faster and better if patients had treated them properly from the onset. It’s important to have an injury evaluated by a healthcare professional as soon as it happens. On the sports field, an athletic trainer can help assess the severity of your injury and direct you to the appropriate route of care. Unless you are headed for the emergency room, there is likely to be a period of time before your foot doctor appointment. RICE is a treatment method that you can follow to bring relief and start the healing process.
Below are the components of RICE:
REST: Delete “play through the pain” from your sports lexicon! Whatever activity has caused the injury or is hurting your foot should be stopped immediately. Getting off the injured foot will prevent the injury from worsening and allow the healing process to begin. In addition, pain will affect your gait and balance—continuing to bear weight on an injured foot can lead to a secondary injury.
ICE: Putting a cold pack or ice on the affected area will bring relief from pain and inflammation. To protect your skin, however, always wrap the ice in a towel or other thin material and don’t leave on for more than 20 minutes at a time. Icing is most effective in the first 48 hours after the injury.
COMPRESSION: Using a compression wrap reduces swelling. Be careful not to make the wrap too tight, however, or you could impede circulation. If your foot is throbbing after putting on the wrap that’s a sign that it is probably too tight. Special boots and air casts may also provide compression, but these should only be prescribed by the foot doctor.
ELEVATION: Raising your injured foot 6 to 10 inches above the level of the heart will allow excess fluid to drain back into the body to be reabsorbed and thereby reduce swelling at the site of injury. You may need to lay down and place pillows under your foot to get this elevation.
Of course, RICE is not to be used in place of professional medical care. Our podiatrist, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco, should see you as soon after an injury as possible to fully diagnose the problem and start you on the appropriate rehabilitation plan. To make an appointment at our Somers Point office, call: (609) 927-4894.