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Proper Recovery from Injury

There is nothing more disappointed or frustrating than an injury. It always seems to come at a bad time -- mostly because there is no good time to get injured. If you have found yourself in the unfortunate position of dealing with an injury, it’s time to implement proper recovery from injury.

Proper recovery is critical to getting you back into your activity of choice -- running, swimming, hiking, strength training, yoga, yodeling, etc. If you skip the proper steps of recovery, you could find yourself with a worse injury down the road and having to take off even more time from the activity that you love. Even worse, you could create a permanent injury that prohibits you from certain activities and affects your quality of life.

Instead of trying to get back on track immediately, try these tips for proper recovery.

Proper Recovery from an Injury -- The RICE Method

You may have come across a popular acronym related to injury recovery -- commonly referred to as the RICE method. That easy-to-remember word could be the answer to your proper recovery and general well being. Here’s how it’s broken down. Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.


Rest is often the most important part of proper recovery from an injury, but it can be the most challenging. If you’re used to being busy and active, resting may be the last thing you want to do. But your body needs that downtime to heal and recover.

The human body needs rest to recover. It’s why we need to sleep, why we can’t be moving all day long, and it’s this time the the body repairs itself. Even if you are not injured, rest is an important part of health.

Rather than be upset that you have to sit on the couch more -- try to use the rest time to your advantage. Find some relaxation activities that you enjoy and focus on that. Choose some books you’ve been wanting to read or find a new television series to binge.

Also remember that rest doesn’t have to be laying completely still. Depending on your injury, you can still do some activity while in “rest mode.” For example, perhaps you injured your shoulder during a weightlifting session. Lay off the weights in rest mode, but you can still probably (always check with your doctor first!) do other more mild activities like walking. Just avoid any activities that use the injured part of the body -- and if you feel pain, stop!


Putting ice or cold onto an injury is a great way to reduce inflammation and pain. The most important time to ice is soon after the injury -- when swelling and inflammation are at their peak. Using ice in the first 24 to 48 hours can help reduce pain and uncomfortable swelling.

As with any treatment, there’s a few things to keep in mind with icing an injury. After the first 48 hours after an injury, using cold therapy won’t have much benefit. The inflammation you are experiencing needs to happen in order to heal -- the cold just helps take the edge off that over-inflammatory period right after the injury that can be painful and uncomfortable. If it is a muscle injury, you might want to switch to heat after the first 48 hours.

Additionally, never -- we mean never! -- put ice directly onto the skin. Ice or extremely cold products can damage the skin when applied directly. Put a towel over the affected area first or use a product that offers an additional layer between your skin and the cold.


With some experts, the RICE method has been reimagined as the PRICE method -- adding protection to the list. For us, we realized that compression and protection often go hand-in-hand if you have the right kind of products (like Elbow Compression).

Compression can help aid recovery -- while easing pain and swelling along the way. Consistent compression of the injured area helps increase blood and lymph circulation. Increase circulation oxygen and nutrients are being pumped in quicker and waste is being pumped out quicker. Compression could be the key to recovering from an injury quicker.

Plus, compression can continue to be used as you ease back into activity after an injury. The compression garment can help provide stability and keep that circulation moving as you regain strength to the injured area.


Another tool in the recovery arsenal is elevation. While you are resting, icing, and compressing the injured area, elevate the affected area. Keeping the injured body part above the heart will help minimize swelling.

No need to always keep the injury elevated -- you need that blood flow -- but in the critical first few days of the injury elevation can help. A good rule of thumb is to elevate any time you are icing.

Also, as you ease back into activity, you may find swelling to be a problem in the injured area. Elevation at this time can help minimize that.

Now that you have a handy acronym -- RICE -- you can be prepared if the unfortunate event of an injury happens to you. Having the knowledge is the first step on the road to healing and getting back into your exercise routine.

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