Protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (PRICE) is a treatment for minor muscle strains, sprains, bruises and other injuries. It is used for the first 1 to 2 days after an injury.
After an injury, it is important to protect the area from more injury. Depending on where your injury is, you may need to use a sling, splint, crutches, cane, or walking sticks.
After an injury, you need to take time off from your activities to allow your body to heal. For example, if you sprained your ankle, you need to avoid walking or putting weight on your ankle. If you were injured while playing sports, it’s important not to return to play until your injury has healed. Returning to play too early may make the injury worse.
Ice helps control pain and swelling. Try to put ice on an injury as soon as possible. Put an ice pack, gel pack, or package of frozen vegetables, wrapped in a cloth, on the injured area every 3 to 4 hours for up to 20 minutes at a time. Never put ice directly on the skin.
Compression helps limit swelling of the injured area. It also gives some additional support to the injured area. You may use an elastic bandage, trainer's tape, or even a piece of clothing to tie around the injured area. Be sure not to wrap or tie it too tightly. If it’s too tight, it can cut off the blood supply to the injured area.
Raising the injured part of your body up on a pillow is another way to help decrease swelling. It works best if you keep the injury above the level of your heart. This helps to keep fluid from building up in the injured area. If you cannot raise the injured body part above the level of your heart, at least keep it parallel to the ground by resting on pillows or a chair.
Treating an injury with PRICE can lessen swelling, pain, and help you heal faster. Ask your healthcare provider:
Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.