A sprain is the over-stretching or tearing of a ligament due to a mechanical force resulting in damage. Ligaments are the type of connective tissue that holds joints together. A severe sprain can inhibit the ligament from properly controlling the integrity of a joint. The first step after a sprain injury is to take any weight or physical stress off of the joint. The most common place for sprains to happen is the ankle. Sprains also frequently occur in the wrists, knees and less common in shoulders.
Treatment for common strains falls into two categories: the first aid, which is considered the short term; and the healing phase that consists of recovery and rehabilitation.
What you need to remember during the first aid following sprain injury. They are easy to remember with the RICE acronym.
R – REST – Very important thing to do in the treatment of a sprain is to get weight and physical stress off of the injured joint. Clearly, you do not want to use the joint until healing of the sprain can occur.
I – ICE – Ice the sprained joint for 15 minutes immediately after the injury. Ice helps to reduce inflammation and pain. Repeat reapplying ice every several hours. Never keep the ice for more than 15 minutes.
C – COMPRESS – Wrap the joint tightly in order to prevent unnecessary joint movement and support some weight. After wrapping tightly, make sure to check circulation below the wrap. You can lightly pinch, or squeeze the area distant to a wrapped part. The area should turn to a normal color within seconds. If the area stays white, loosen the wrap.
E – ELEVATE – Within the first few days, keep the sprained area elevated above the level of the heart. This helps to avoid swelling from build up. Increased hydration (water intake), for the body to respond to the damage caused by the sprain.
Always consult your medical doctor to perform additional examination to rule out possible fractures or other soft tissue damage.
For long term care of a sprain injury, very important factor is to maintain mobility (to avoid joint derangement or fusion) and maintain strength. This is better done under a supervision of a specialist.
Proper nutrition is very important for fast recovery and healing. There are many vitamins and minerals that are necessary for proper ligament strength.
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