A sprain is when ligaments are suddenly stretched or tom. Ligaments are tissues that hold bones together. Sprains usually occur in joints, such as in ankles, knees, wrist or fingers. You may have pain, tenderness and swelling of the affected joint. You may also not be able to move the joint very well. A sprain can take up to 8 weeks to heal completely.
- REST the injury for at least the first 48 hours. Crutches may be required for leg/ankle injuries. Take painkillers as advised by the Doctor
- ICE on the injury for 15-20 minutes each hour for the first 24-48 hours is valuable to reduce swelling and pain. Put the ice in a plastic bag and place a towel between the bag of ice and your skin, or use an ice pack in the same way
- COMPRESSION by using a firm bandage or elastic stocking may aid comfort and help reduce swelling. Take off at least once a day. If you have tingling or numbness below the injury take off and wrap more loosely
- ELEVATION of the limb will assist in reducing swelling and pain. When possible rest with the limb elevated above the level of the heart
- EXERCISE after the initial swelling and pain has settled will help to restore full function to the injured limb
Seek Medical Attention If:
- Your swelling or pain is getting worse after following the above advice including loosening of bandage and taking analgesia as advised
- Your toes/fingers below the injury feel cold, numb or are blue
- If you have persistent pain or any other problems it is advisable to visit your GP for further examination and tests.
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If your symptoms have not resolved within 48h of the expected timeframe, if they worsen or if new, concerning symptoms develop, seek medical attention promptly.