Authors: Domenic Scialoia & Adam J. Swartzendruber
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine
278 Whites Bridge Road
Standish, ME 04084
Domenic Scialoia is a recent graduate of Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with concentrations in Pre- Physical Therapy and Sport Performance.
Adam J. Swartzendruber is an Assistant Professor of Sport and Exercise Science at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.
The R.I.C.E Protocol is a MYTH: A Review and Recommendations
The RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol has been the preferred method of treatment for acute musculoskeletal injuries since its origin in a 1978 publication entitled “Sports Medicine Book” by Dr. Gabe Mirkin. These guidelines have been used by coaches and healthcare providers for over four decades with the intent of expediting the recovery process and reducing inflammation. Although popular, the implementation of this protocol to attenuate the recovery process is unsubstantiated. There is, however, an abundance of research that collectively supports the notion that ice and rest does not enhance the recovery process, but instead delays recovery, and may result in further damage to the tissue. Research in regard to compression and elevation is inconclusive, diluted and largely anecdotal. Definitive guidelines for their application have yet to be purported. As a result of the subsequent research that examined the validity of the protocol, Dr. Mirkin recanted his original position on the protocol in 2015. The objective of this article is to analyze the available evidence within the research literature to elucidate why the RICE protocol is not a credible method for enhancing the recovery process of acute musculoskeletal injuries. In addition, evidence- based alternatives to the protocol will be examined. These findings are important to consider and should be utilized by any healthcare professional; specifically, those who specialize in the facilitation of optimal recovery, as well as those who teach in health-related disciplines in higher education.(more…)