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Dr. Ali Miletic examines how and when the human medicine approach to treating injuries through the RICE protocol is effective in horses.
By: Ali Miletic | January 28, 2018
Q: I’ve heard recently that the RICE protocol for humans is outdated. Does this apply to horses as well?
There has been some recent discussion in human medicine that the common way of treating an acute injury (especially soft tissue, like a sprained ankle) through Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) is outdated and can actually do more harm than good. Let’s look at the components:
Resting an injury is never a bad idea. It allows the body to heal, and is usually the best way to prevent excessive pain and further damage.
Icing is used to reduce inflammation, pain, and bleeding. Vasoconstriction occurs when cold is applied to an area; when the vessels constrict, less blood flows through them and therefore less blood is brought to the area, resulting in less swelling. Cryotherapy, or use of cold temperatures as medical therapy, is also considered an analgesic (pain reducer). This is accomplished by changing the threshold for the conduction of nerve impulses to and from the tissue...
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