First Aid for Sprain

Protect the injured limb from further injury by not moving the joint. To do this, you can use splints or crutches.


Rest the injured limb; but do no avoid all physical activity. You can still exercise even with an ankle sprain to prevent de-conditioning. Work both arms and you uninjured leg to get a three-limb exercise to maintain your cardiovascular conditioning.


Apply ice on the injured limb. You a cold pack, a slush bath, or a compression sleeve filled with cold water to reduce swelling. If you are using ice, avoid using it for too long as it could cause tissue damage.


Compress the injure limb using an elastic wrap or bandage. Compressive wraps or sleeves made from elastic neoprene are your best bet.


Elevate the injure limb whenever possible to prevent or limit the swelling.

After the first two days, slowly start using the injured area. You should feel gradual, progressive improvement. Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to alleviate the pain during the healing process.

When to get emergency medical assistance

Call emergency medical help in case of the following:

You heard a popping sound when you injured your joint, you can’t use your joint, or you feel unstable when you try to carry weight on the joint. Any of these could mean that the ligament was completely torn. Apply a cold pack on the injured area on the way to the doctor.

You have a fever higher that 100 F (37.8 C), and the injured limb is red and hot. This could mean that you have an infection.

You are in severe pain. Delayed or inadequate treatment may cause long-term joint instability and/or chronic pain.

The injured area is not improving after the first 2-3 days.

Source: Mayo Clinic


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