How to Treat Sprains & Strains

Date: Friday, 07 August 2015. -  
Blog, First Aid

As summer draws to a close a lot of people like to make the most of the warm weather by partaking in recreational activities such as running or perhaps joining the gym. Exercise can make you feel good because of the release of endorphins; however if you don’t warm up effectively or if you push yourself too hard then it can result in injury.

On your nightly run, the sun is beginning to set and you wonder whether to turn back, glancing down at your watch puts you off guard and you don’t see a loose paving stone, your shoe catches the corner of the slab, twisting your ankle and you hit the deck. You struggle to stand and when you apply pressure to your ankle it throbs, you believe you may have sprained it. What next? Would you know how to treat a sprain or strain?

Sprains and strains are injuries to the soft tissues. A sprain is a tear of the ligaments around a joint, whereas a strain is a tear of the muscles and tendons.

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It isn’t always necessary to call an ambulance in this situation but you will require a first aid kit and an ice pack to reduce swelling. We wouldn’t advise that you continue on foot, so if possible, call a family member or a friend to come to your aid.

Once you’re back in the comfort of your own home or somewhere with a first aid kit all you need to do is follow these simple steps:

  1. Rest the injured area; do not continue to put weight/ pressure on it.
  2. Apply an ice pack or frozen peas will do! However do not apply it directly onto the skin, wrap it in a piece of fabric or a few layers of paper towel to prevent it from causing damage to the skin; you do not want a repeat of that time you got an ice lolly stuck to your tongue- ouch!
  3. Bandage the injured area firmly to reduce swelling.
  4. Keep the injury elevated.

If you struggle to memorise those steps just think of the acronym R.I.C.E

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

 

It may take a number of weeks before the injured area returns to normal. However, if your symptoms do not improve within a few days then you should seek advice from a doctor. We would advise that you should visit a minor injuries unit if you are experiencing severe pain/ numbness, or if the injured area looks unusual with lumps and bumps or a crooked appearance.

For more useful step-by-step guides download our first aid app, it won’t cost you a penny. Simply search for Imperative Training in your app store and feel rest assured that you will be able to access first aid tips on the go.