You get home from work and immediately make a beeline for your running shoes. If you go now there might be just enough sunlight left in the day for a hike too. You quickly change, lace up your shoes, grab your water and cell phone, and head out to jog the few miles to the upper end of the park. As you reach where the foothills just begin, you feel like you’re in another world. You’re feeling so good, you decide to jog through the hills instead of hike. As you quickly turn your head to admire the view, you trip on a rock and fall flat on your face. But it’s not your pride that hurts – it’s the foot pain in your big toe and the throbbing in your ankle. It’s getting dark, what are you going to do?
You try to get up and walk, but no way! It just hurts too much. Thankfully you have your phone. You call a friend to come get you. As you’re driving home, you reassure your friend you don’t need to go to the hospital, but yes you probably have a foot injury. Shoot. No more running for you for a while! Your friend agrees to take you straight home, after he’s convinced you don’t have a life threatening foot injury, but insists you try the RICE method. You tell him you’re not hungry, but thanks. That’s not the kind of rice he’s talking about.
Posted by: Dr. Jeffrey N. Bowman, Houston Foot Specialists
Rice…Not Just the San Francisco Treat
All you need to remember is RICE. No, I am not telling you cook up a steaming bowl of rice, although that doesn’t sound so bad. RICE is a pneumonic which stands for:
The best way to practice the art of RICE!
Rest – the first thing you should do is to stop whatever activity you are doing and then make plans to reduce your activity level so as not too aggravate the injury.
Ice – if the injury results in swelling, application of ice can help reduce that swelling. If placing ice on the injury hurts, ice can be placed at a higher level. For example, if the injury is to the forefoot, you can apply ice to the ankle. If the injury is to the ankle, you can apply ice behind the knee. I recommend ice application for 15-20 minutes several times a day.
Note: please do not place the ice directly on the skin. Wrap it in a towel to avoid potential cold injury.
Compression – the use of compression is to either inhibit or reduce swelling. An ACE bandage is a great method, but there is always risk in applying too tightly. If after you apply an ACE wrap you notice your toes beginning to turn purple/blue or your foot is becoming extremely painful, you might have applied the bandage too tight and will need to loosen the bandage.
Elevation – elevation is also another method in inhibiting OR reducing swelling. The goal is to elevate the foot/leg to the level of your heart. Typically, 2 pillows are enough to provide adequate elevation
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Not every foot or ankle injury warrants a visit to a foot doctor. If it isn’t life threatening and isn’t causing you chronic pain, the RICE method above is a great place to start trying to relieve foot pain caused by your injury. However, if the pain doesn’t go away in a day or two, or starts to get worse, contact a podiatrist.
If you’re in the Manhattan or White Plains area, contact a New York podiatrist at Adler Footcare. We believe feet shouldn’t hurt and neither should their treatment.