Why its important to add the 'D' to R.I.C.E for acute injuries

28 APR

Why its important to add the 'D' to R.I.C.E for acute injuries

By Dean Phelps on Tuesday, 28th of April    Tag: Acute Injury, Acute Pain, Injury Management, R.I.C.E,

Everyone has heard of R-rest, I-ice, C-compression, E-elevation post injury. But what is the D for?

Everyone has heard of R.I.C.E. It is so common in sports injuries. I dont think I even need to tell people what it is these days.

This is great because at least people are taking some action to rest, add ICE to assist with pain, compression to lessen the swelling and elevation to reduce the effects of gravity and promote some time off. People are taking some ownership and control over their injury, which is a great start in the right direction for rehab.

But I think it is missing something. A 'D' on the end of it. The most important peice to managing the injury correctly is a DIAGNOSIS.

A diagnosis tells you what tissue is injured, informs your injury management plan and influences the prognosis (the time to recovery). Without a diagnosis its just guess work and you may not be managing that injury/tissue optimally to influence your best possible prognosis and return to enjoyable activities or sport. Put simply...

"Diagnosis + injury management plan = prognosis: your time to return to sport or enjoyable everyday living!

There are many different injury protocols now, and decisions made early can really influence how well you recover and perform in the future.


  1. You can REST too much! Depending on the tissue injured it may need to be loaded to aid healing and recovery
  2. ICE can be over done, you want some blood/swelling into the tissues (this brings in healing factors) so you go to know when to stop
  3. Compression and elevation may no longer be useful depending on what sate the injury is in!

So begin with RICE, but get in to see us early for some additional education along with a diagnosis. 

If you have any questions about injury management and diagnosis please feel free to contact me here.


Dean Phelps - Head Physiotherapy

Dean is a registered Gold Coast Physiotherapist with undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Human Movement and Exercise Science. His background has developed his vision for Fighting Fit Physiotherapy to focus on optimal health and peak physical performance for every single patient. Utilising his many qualifications, in depth knowledge of the body and passion for exercise he can provide a holistic approach to your treatment and exercise prescription to get the best outcome.


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