RICE vs Traction

Hi guys, i just watched the Westside Video called the “reactive” method, they brought in the guy from jumpstretch Inc to teach about stretching. He says traction immediately after injury e.g ankle is better tahn RICE… hav eyou guys tried it? (of coruse i mean traction by a skilled person) I have had decent results with my athletes (basketball) with RICE… but hey, if traction is better ill learn it and learn it well so i can help them back on their feet better.


That must have been Dick Hartzell, the inventor of the Jumpstretch bands and owner of the only “all rubber band” gym in the world.

He believes trainers and coaches are doing their athletes a disservice by icing. He thinks that when an athlete sprains an ankle, that icing it is just going to delay needed removal & healing.

I went and met with Dick this summer and was very impressed with him. I don’t know enough to offer my opinion on tractioning though.

He does have a video where I saw him doing some tractioning of athletes who had just sprained ankles and were up and actually running 15 minutes later. It was really guerrilla but seemed real. And the results seemed amazing. Of course, when I sprain mine, I just keep playing like an idiot.


Just from a commonsence point of view I would be careful taking that advice. Having said that, I have also seen that footage and his traction methods are impressive.

I don’t know enough about his methods to make a comment, except to say it may be one of those techniques where he may be able to pull it off but for anyone else to try it would result in further injury. He has been working with bands and traction for a long time, so he probably has developed special methods of using them.

I can tell you this much, if it was my athlete I would stick to ice and hold off on the traction until I felt comfortable with his methods and I understood the theory behind it. His methods are unique to him and for us to try it would probably make the problem worse.

Good points, Chris. I do believe that Dick could make it work but I don’t know how effective it would be in the hands of someone with less knowledge of the little quirks I’m sure he’s figured out over the years.


I don’t know of this gentleman’s work or background. This kind of work is nothing new so don’t over react to it and start yanking on every sore shoulder or knee.

Using an ankle injury for example, the classic method of injury is inversion and plantar flexion, manipulation or perhaps long-held traction in dorsi flexion and eversion may “reduce” an anteriorly displaced talus. This may make a chronicly painful ankle feel better. Traction on most injured joints makes them feel better. With a joint injury you have a nueromusclur reflex which a splinting of the joint by the muscles around it. The pain receptors around the joint are effected as well This has to be reset or a chronic painful syndrome occurs. Traction or stretching resets this nueromusclur reflex. Opening tight joint spaces allows more synovial fluid to enter and may realign the joint. Traction combined with mobilization may loosen connective tissue and break-up adhesions.

However, it shouldn’t be performed on acute injuries as an increase in joint space may allow in increase in joint effusion and disruption of collagen repair.
The pain alone of pulling on an injured joint should be enough to stop.

Use rice acutely but after the bleeding/edema ends it won’t help much at all.