How To Treat Sprains And Strains

Photo Credit: Martin Walder, Micha Rieser CC-BY-SA-3.0
Even the most fit person and skilled athlete can suffer an injury. Sprains and strains can be very painful. Sometimes a sprain or strain can cause swelling, bruising and stiffness, especially in joints. There is a simple way to remember how to treat a sprain or strain: R.I.C.E.: Rest. Ice. Compress. Elevate.
Rest the injured joint or muscle. Use a sling for arm injuries and avoid walking on a sprained ankle, knee or leg muscle strain. If you sprain a toe joint or finger, tape the injured digit to the finger or toe beside it to keep it from moving and exacerbating the injury.
Use an ice pack on the sprained joint or strained muscle every hour for 20 minutes. Don’t leave ice on your skin for too long or you can damage skin tissue. Ice will reduce swelling and prevent further swelling by slowing blood flow to the area.
Wrap the sprained joint or strained muscle with an elastic bandage, if possible, to keep it immobilized. Be careful not to stop the circulation to your feet or hands by wrapping the bandage too tightly. Loosen a bandage on your arm, wrist, ankle or knee if your fingers or toes tingle.
Elevate injured limbs above your heart to prevent further swelling.
Continue to use the R.I.C.E. method of treatment for up to 48 hours or until you see your doctor.
If you need pain relief, take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or aspirin. You should see a doctor if your joint made a popping sound when the injury occurred. Go to an emergency room for treatment if you cannot move your joint, your arm or your leg. Numbness after an injury should also be evaluated by a doctor. See a doctor if the swelling is significant, if there is significant bruising or if you develop a fever.
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About Robin R.
I’m an AFPA certified personal trainer & nutrition consultant, NASM certified corrective exercise specialist, NASM certified youth exercise specialist, online fitness coach and freelance writer specializing in health and fitness. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health. I specialize in weight loss, functional strength training, total body toning, aerobic conditioning, plyometric training, nutrition planning, and home-based boot camp style workouts for women. My goal is to make every personal training session fun and effective for my clients. My services include both in-home personal training and online fitness coaching.

One Response to How To Treat Sprains And Strains

  1. Thank you for posting this, Robin. The R.I.C.E method is the most basic first aid treatment to sprains. However, even after the sprain has healed, there are things that we should observe in order to be completely free of pain and avoid further injuries. Stretching and exercising, for example, can increase mobility and loosen tight muscles.Regards, Kristal Byrnes

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