Ligaments are elastic-like bands that connect bone-to-bone, keeping your joints steady and stable. A sprain happens when fibers of a ligament tear. Chances are, you’ve had a sprain at some point in your life, but as common as this injury is, most people don’t know how to properly treat it when it happens. Here are four rules of treatment you can be sure will ease your pain as you recover from a basic sprain.
1. REST – Rest the injured limb. Usually for a sprain in your leg, it is recommended to not put much weight on the affected joint. Crutches, a splint, or braces may alleviate some of your pain and aid in recovery.
2. ICE – Ice the area. Use a cold pack, an ice bath or a compression sleeve filled with cold water to help limit swelling after an injury. Try to ice the area as soon as possible after the injury and continue to ice it for 15 to 20 minutes, four to eight times a day, for the first 48 hours or until swelling improves.
3. COMPRESS – Compress the area of the basic sprain with an elastic wrap or bandage. Compression wraps or sleeves made from elastic or neoprene are best.
4. ELEVATE – Elevate the injured limb above your heart whenever possible to help prevent or limit swelling. You can use pillows or couch cushions to keep your leg up when you are laying down.
If the pain for a basic sprain does not go away, please consider seeking medical attention.