Whether you're playing sports or you slip and fall, spraining a joint is never fun. Sometimes it's difficult to assess how you should respond to your injury. Before you head to your nearest medical centre, you may want to see if you can tackle the problem at home.
Stop the Offending Activity
If you're dealing with a sprain, it's usually because there was an activity leading up to it. Stop the offending activity; otherwise, you may make the injury worse.
Bring the Swelling Down
It's sometimes possible to reduce the swelling associated with your injury at home. The easiest way to do this is to apply ice wrapped in a towel to the area. Change the ice every 20 minutes and continue for two to three hours. Ice constricts the blood vessels in the injured area and reduces swelling as a result.
Another popular tactic for reducing swelling is to elevate the limb above the heart. Doing this encourages venous return, which in turn stops the swelling from getting worse.
Assess the Swelling
After spending some time applying ice and elevating the limb, assess the swelling to see if it is worsening. If it's getting worse or if it's becoming incredibly painful, visit a walk-in medical clinic. Fractures aren't always obvious, but they require a different type of treatment than sprains do.
Try to Bear Weight
If your sprain is in one of the joints on your lower limbs, see if it can bear weight. This means trying to walk on the affected limb. If it feels as though it's impossible for it to bear weight, it may be that you're dealing with a fracture or a sprain that requires medical intervention. Tendon and ligament injuries are often non-weight bearing injuries, and it's important to get the right support if you have one.
Bandage the Affected Joint
Compression is an essential part of treating sprains. Bandaging the joint so that it's slightly compressed results in less swelling, which then reduces the pain. If you're unsure as to whether you're compressing your joint properly, you should visit a medical centre and ask for advice.
Try a Mild Analgesic
There's no denying that sprains can feel painful. When that pain prevents you from engaging in your usual daily activities, it may slow down your recovery. Try taking a mild analgesic, such as paracetamol. If you'd rather use something topical, ask a pharmacist for advice on ibuprofen-based gels.
With some self-help, it's possible to treat a lot of sprains at home. If you're ever unsure about the state of your injury, seek medical advice.
For more information, contact a medical centre.