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The RICE Method is the proper way to deal with soft tissue injuries in the legs such as sprains and pulled muscles. These sorts of injuries usually cause swelling and inflammation which can stop you from walking normally. But if you apply The RICE Method, you will minimize the pain and heal faster.
This method is well known among athletes, but it’s important for preppers to be familiar with it, too. After any disaster that leaves debris behind–such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods–people helping with the cleanup effort are more likely to hurt their knees or sprain their ankles as they move through the rubble. If this happens to you, you’ll want to get mobile again as soon as possible so you can continue helping and so you won’t be a burden on others.
RICE stands for rest, ice, compress, and elevate.
Rest. Immediately rest the injured area by lying down and taking pressure off of it. You might want to get a pair of crutches for when there’s no one around to bring you things or for when you need to go to the bathroom.
Ice. This can keep the pain down and help reduce swelling. Wrap an ice pack or even a bag of frozen veggies in a towel and apply it to the injured area. Hold it there for 15 minutes and do this every few hours. If the pain and swelling are severe, you can do this every half hour at the very most. If you don’t have access to ice (perhaps because of a power outage), use some instant cold packs. They last just long enough for this.
Compress. Wrap the injured area in an elastic bandage. Make sure you don’t wrap it too tightly, though, as this can cut off circulation and cause swelling below the injury. It should be loose enough to where it feels comfortable (no throbbing, tingling, or numbness). Unless you’re icing it, keep the injury wrapped until the pain and swelling are gone.
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Elevate. While you’re lying down, use some pillows or blankets to keep the injured area higher than your heart. This allows extra fluid to drain from the area so the swelling can go down faster.
If you’re in a lot of pain, take some ibuprofen. It’s best option for this type of injury. After a day or two, ordinary sprains and strains should start getting better. If not, you may need to find a doctor.
As you get better, you can lightly massage the area. Once the swelling and pain are gone, carefully stretch your legs and walk gently. You don’t want to reinjure yourself and have to start the method all over again.
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