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R.I.C.E. for Tennis Elbow Pain Treatment

Published: 2010-07-02 - Updated: 2016-03-07
Author: Disabled World | Contact:

Synopsis: R.I.C.E. principle to treat muscle related tears swelling and inflammation such as tennis elbow pain.

Main Digest

The R.I.C.E. principle has been used for many years to treat various injuries, mostly muscle related tears, swelling and inflammation such as tennis elbow.


Because you are feeling pain, more specifically tennis elbow, you must deal with the damage that has been done to the tendons and muscles around the elbow joint and forearm muscles and flexors. This is the acute phase of an injury. Let's go through the R.I.C.E. principle:

R - R means Rest.

I don't mean or expect you to be completely bed ridden at this point. I simply am referring to avoiding all activity that could potentially aggravate your injury. Complete rest may lead to the muscles seizing up on you which could lead to further damage and longer rehab time. You want to keep your elbow mobile and keep blood flowing to the tissues and muscles. This will aid in the healing process. Use pain as a guide to what you can and cannot do. At the slightest sign of pain, stop immediately.

I - I stands for ice.

At the first sign of inflammation use ice. Preferably use an ice pack on your elbow wrapped in a tea towel, small towel or t-shirt. Never put ice directly on your skin as this may lead to tissue and skin damage. Ice cubes in a zip lock bag or a bag of frozen peas or corn will work just as well as an ice pack. Apply the ice to your elbow region for approximately 10-20 minutes. When the area becomes numb, you should stop icing your elbow. Never ice an area of the body for longer than 30 minutes as you maybe inflicting tissue and cell damage.

C - C is for compression.

Use a bandage or wrap over the ice pack to help decrease swelling and inflammation. You should never tighten the bandage or wrap to the point of cutting off blood flow. You should not feel pain or a tingly sensation while using compression.

E - E is for elevate.

Raise and rest your arm so that it is above the level of your heart. You can prop it up on a couple of pillows or on the arm of your couch. What you are trying to achieve here is to decrease the swelling in your elbow. By elevating your elbow there is less blood pooling and therefore you decrease the inflammation.

It sounds complicated but it is very easy but you must implement it in order to full recover from your tennis elbow injury and pain. The steps are simply but need to be followed.

It is recommended that you implement the RICE principle every 4 to 6 hours for up to 48 hours after the injury. If you do not experience pain relief within 48 hours I recommend that you consult your doctor or hospital as there could possibly be something more serious going on like a broken bone.

Once you have completed the RICE principle and your elbow and muscles feel healthy enough, you want to start increasing strength and endurance in the tendons, ligaments and muscles around the elbow and forearm.

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Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2010, July 2). R.I.C.E. for Tennis Elbow Pain Treatment. Disabled World. Retrieved September 26, 2021 from