Sprains are one of the most common injuries that occur when you twist your joints in an awkward way and your ligaments get stretched beyond their limit. In severe sprains, the ligament stretches till it tears and the sprain takes much longer to heal.
You can sprain your wrist, knees or thumb but the most commonly dealt with sprains are ankle sprains. Ankle sprains usually happen when you land wrong on your feet after a misstep, a fall, or while playing sports. Mild sprains can be taken care of by some at home first aid but for severe sprains, you will need to consult your doctor. Here is the immediate emergency first aid procedure to be followed when you sprain a body part, it is referred to as RICE:
Get adequate rest so that the injured portion can recover. Especially for knee or ankle sprains, try to keep your weight off your feet for a few days. Use a crutch if required.
Ice the injured area with an ice pack to contain the swelling. Do this every 2 hours for 15-20 minutes for the initial two days.
Compress the area using a compression bandage. This will help reduce the swelling and provide stability to the injured limb.
Keep the injured area elevated at a level above your heart whenever possible. This will help to reduce swelling by preventing the accumulation of fluid in the joint. If you’ve sprained your ankle, you can use some pillows to prop your feet up when you lie down.
If the pain does not get better after a few days, consult a doctor. If you suspect your sprain is severe, it is best to seek immediate medical attention. Delayed treatment could lead to chronic pain in severe cases.