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Treatment for Sprains and Strains

by Louise September 30th, 2008 | Injuries
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Last week I was playing volleyball and sprained my ankle. For me, this is a nightmare. Volleyball season is my favorite time of year, and I wanted to be up and playing as soon as possible. How did I get better? I used the R.I.C.E. method that my school follows for all minor sprains and strains:

Rest: Whether you’ve injured your ankle, wrist, or back, it’s important to rest that area for at least 48 hours after the initial injury. You may need a sling or crutches depending on your situation. You should listen to what your body tells you. If you test out standing on your foot and it feels like it won’t support you, don’t try to walk on it, that could cause further injury.

Ice: In order to reduce pain and swelling, you should ice the area within 48 hours of the injury. Do not use heat, this, in fact, can increase swelling. You can use a bag of crushed ice, an ice pack, or even frozen peas. During the first 48 hours, as often as you can, ice for periods of 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take the ice off. Before icing again, let the area restore to normal temperature and color.

Compression: You also can reduce the swelling by wrapping the area in ace bandages or other support bandages. Make sure your wrap isn’t too tight. Your fingers or toes should not tingle and should remain the same temperature.

Elevation: Try to keep your injured area above your heart while resting. It will help reduce swelling as well.

You should see a big improvement in the status of your injury after two days of following the R.I.C.E. method. (I was back in the game three days later.) If you see no change despite following the steps, it is important that you see a doctor. You should return to using an injured joint or muscle only if you are sure it can support the work, and even so, start with just 50% of what you might normally do. Let yourself ease back into the work, and soon enough you’ll be back to full throttle.

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Comments 4 Responses to “Treatment for Sprains and Strains”
  1. David says:

    Great article – most people will think of “RICE” for their ankle, but will automatically reach for some form of heat when they hurt their back. We tend to forget the rule of “first, do no harm”, and ice is always the safest form of initial treatment.

  2. […] learn the correct treatment procedure, read this timely article on our sister site, Health Eagle.  It will aid in healing and should help the athlete return to […]

  3. Robin says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for sharing the rice method with us. Excellent tips to help us all out in a time of need. I hope your sprained ankle is feeling much better now. Volleyball is a fun sport to play. Have fun! 🙂

  4. […] rest, ice, compression, and elevation. (For more details, visit an article on our sister site Health Eagle.) If the swelling does not reduce after a couple days of treatment, you should seek a […]

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.