R.I.C.E. - Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate

The most common method of treating a sprained wrist is called “RICE.” This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate. However, if you are not sure of the severity of your wrist sprain, be sure to talk with a doctor prior to beginning the home treatment or rehabilitation.

  • Rest - After an injury, the following 24-48 hours are considered critical to treatment. Of course, during this time period, all activities must be curtailed. Avoid any activities that may cause pain, but do try to use the injured wrist as much as tolerable. The use of a wrist splint immediately following the injury should help lessen the symptoms.
  • Ice - Ice should be applied to the injured area, but do not ice your wrist for more than 20 minutes at a time. The wrist will not heal any faster and you may, in fact, cause tissue damage.
  • Compression - During early treatment, compression should be used when elevating the wrist. Using an elastic bandage, wrap the wrist from the base of the fingers all the way up to the top of the forearm. Be sure that the wrap is snug, but not too tight. You don’t want to cut off circulation to the hand and wrist.
  • Elevate - You should elevate and maintain your wrist higher than the level of your heart as often as possible. You may elevate your wrist at night by placing pillows under your arm before bedtime.

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