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Even though your ligaments are strong, flexible and unite bone to bone as well as holding the joints in its right position, they can also end up injured. A sprain is a common injury to your ligaments which is caused by the ripping of the fibers. Ligaments can incur a partial tear or completely torn. Among the different types of sprains, both the knee and ankle sprains commonly occur. The sprained ligaments tend to swell at a rapid rate and can cause pain and discomfort. Usually, if the pain and swelling is great, the injury is severe. For minor sprains, you can treat the injury easily.

R.I.C.E. Instructions

  • Rest the affected limb. Your doctor will usually recommend avoiding any strain on the affected part for 48 hours but do not avoid all activity. Even if you suffered from ankle sprain, you can still exercise other muscles.
  • Ice the affected part by using a cold pack or a compression sleeve that is filled with cold water in order to minimize the swelling after the injury. You can apply ice to the area as soon as possible after the injury and continue the application for 15-20 minutes for 4-8 times in a day for 48 hours or until the swelling improved. If ice is used, avoid using too extensively since this can lead to tissue damage.
Application of ice is part of the RICE treatment
  • Compress the area using an elastic bandage or wrap. The compressive sleeves or wraps that are made out of neoprene or elastic are the best choices.
  • Elevate the affected limb higher than the heart level if possible in order to prevent or minimize the swelling.

After two days, you can start using the affected area. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help with pain management during the healing process.

When to seek medical assistance

If the sprain has not improved after two or three days, it is best to see your doctor. There are also cases when it is best to seek medical assistance.

  • Inability to bear weight on the affected limb, joint feels numb or unstable or you could not use the joint. This usually indicates that the ligament was torn completely. On your way to the doctor, apply a cold pack.
  • Development of redness or red-colored streaks that spread out from the affected area since this usually indicates an infection.
  • You suffered a repeat injury on an area that has been injured several times in the past.
  • Severe pain and discomfort is evident.

Even though sprains can commonly occur, it is important that you know how to provide the appropriate first aid care. In doing so, it can help prevent further injury to the affected limb.

As part of any first aid training offered in certified training centers, it is important to learn the appropriate first aid care for sprains since it is one of the injuries that commonly happen.

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