The RICE Method - Help for small muscle injuries


The RICE tips (Rest - Ice - Compression - Elevation) support the healing process of muscle injuries. All injuries should be seen by a medical practitioner, so if you are not 100% sure that it only is a minor muscle injury, you must consult one as soon as possible.


When you injure a muscle, you should rest it immediately! Don’t move it, don’t put weight on it. This enables it to heal and you avoid further damage. Stop what you were doing and apply the 3 following tips.


Ice or any other cold medium will reduce swelling and bleeding. Use a damp cloth like a tea towel to protect the skin from direct contact with the ice.

Do not apply ice for too long, as the body will try to “rescue” the area by sending a lot of blood to it. This will increase swelling and bleeding, thus destryoing the good effects of the ice. The skin should look pale when the ice is taken off - if it is red, it has been over-iced.


Compression will also restrict the bleeding, but be careful to concentrate the pressure on the injured area - you don’t want to cut off the blood supply to the rest of the limb. A firm pad can be placed on the area of the injury and be held in place with strapping.


When you injure a muscle in an arm or leg, elevating it above the level of the torso for as long as possible can do wonders for the healing process. Elevation lets gravity do the work of reducing the swelling.

Putting your legs up against the wall with the knees slightly bent will make elevation even more effective. In this position, you will want to limit the elevation time to 5-10 minutes and you may need to put a small pillow under your lower back to avoid injury to your lower back.

Don't check!

Don’t check too soon whether an injury still hurts. Doing so is the easiest way to ruin the good work you have done by following the RICE technique. Give the injury at least 24 hours to enter fully into the healing process. As soon as inflammation subsides, mobilization work can be started to ensure that the muscle retains its range of movement.

Massage is particularly effective roughly two days after the injury occurred.

Whom should you book for which injury?

Call 999 if it is a medical emergency

We are a sports clinic. That means we are by no means a medical clinic. We are not equipped, trained or qualified to deal with medical emergencies.

If you have a medical emergency, you MUST ring 999 and call an ambulance.

NHS 111 - NHS Choices

Should you have just gotten injured and you have no reason to believe that your injury may be or develop into a medical emergency, you could always check the NHS 111 website for a range of helpful information.

See your GP first

If it is not a medical emergency, you should go to your GP first. Once you have seen a medical practitioner, you are safe to see any of us.

If you are unsure, see our osteopath or our physiotherapist

If you do not want to see your GP or do not have time to do so and you are convinced that it is safe not to see your GP, you are welcome to see our osteopath or our physiotherapist first. They can then inform you about the nature of the injury.

Soft tissue injuries: massage

All of our massage therapists are full members of the ISRM and are therefore qualified and insured to deal with minor soft tissue injuries. This means mainly minor muscular injuries like muscle strains etc.

One of the great benefits of regular massage is that they can reduce the risk of injury.

photo of treatment of calf muscles