5 Ways To Treat Basic Sprains

5 Ways To Treat Basic Sprains



A sprain is an injury to the ligaments that connect your bones together and hold the joints in place. Ligaments are tough and elastic, but injury and overexertion can cause it to tear partially or completely. The common symptoms of a sprain are pain, bruising, and severe swelling. Bleeding, numbness, and change in color or form can also occur. 

Treating basic sprains depends on the severity of the injury. Both self-care and professional attention should be considered. Early treatment of simple sprains can help minimize symptoms and ensure a speedy recovery. 


Protect the Injured Area

Prevent further injury by protecting the sprained area. Failing to protect the sprained limb will not only cause more pain and discomfort, but it will also delay recovery. Avoid using the injured part of the body and prevent it from further contact by immobilizing using a splint or a brace.  Allowing the sprained area to rest will help prevent further damage as well as swelling or inflammation. 


Implement R.I.C.E.

RestThis can mean different things depending on the severity of the injury that the limb has sustained. Following a sprain, rest the injured limb and do not put any weight on it for two to three days. It is not necessary and possibly not helpful to completely stop all activities. Generally, limiting activities and applying caution is enough. Support the limbs and muscles with an elastic sports tape, splint, or crutches to avoid overexertion.

IceApply an ice pack or use an ice slush bath on the affected area immediately for fifteen to twenty minutes. Continue doing this for two to three hours within the first two days. This helps alleviate pain and manage swelling. 

Avoid using ice for more than twenty minutes as prolonged exposure can cause tissue damage. If you have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or decreased sensation, talk with your doctor before applying ice. 

CompressionUse an elastic tape to compress the affected area. This can help reduce swelling and relieve discomfort. Begin wrapping lightly at the area farthest from your heart. Avoid wrapping too tightly so as not to hinder circulation.

ElevateLet gravity do its work and help avoid swelling. Use pillows to elevate the area higher than your torso.  


Pain Management

In some cases, self-care treatment such as applying ice packs and compression is enough to manage pain following a sprain. However, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, or acetaminophen may be necessary. 


See a Doctor

While most sprains will heal over a short period of time, some injuries may be too severe and will require more aggressive treatment. A medical professional can help determine if further care needs to be implemented to support healing and avoid complications. Even with simple sprains, it is important to rule out any damage that may lead to complications or the need for surgery. 

In rare cases, surgery may be required if the injury doesn’t heal after a long period of time. If the sprain doesn’t heal after a long period of physical therapy or rehabilitation, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair or reconstruct a ligament that won’t heal.


Rehabilitation

Restoring the strength and mobility of the affected area is just as important as immediate care for ensuring a full recovery. As the sprain is healing, gradually introduce movement to the affected limb while keeping caution in mind. Work with a therapist or a professional fitness coach who will guide you toward the right approach of restoring proper function to your affected limbs. Rehabilitation is essential to gain full recovery and prevent recurring injury. 


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