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How To Treat a Strain or Sprain

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Updated September 04, 2013

Wrapping a Sprained Ankle

Wrapping a Sprained Ankle

Wendy Bumgardner © 2006
You have just sprained your ankle, or twisted or bruised your ankle, knee, or foot. What should you do to prevent further injury and protect your injured limb? Use the R.I.C.E. method for immediate treatment of sprains, swelling and bruises.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 24 hours

Here's How:

  1. Stop: Stop what you were doing that caused the injury.
  2. Rest: Get off your feet, take the weight off the affected limb.
  3. Ice: Apply an icebag wrapped in a cloth to the affected area for 20 minutes every two hours. Don't apply ice directly to the skin. If all you have is a cold stream to soak it in, that is also good.
  4. Compression: Wrap the area in an ace bandage.
  5. Elevation: Raise the affected limb to a level above your heart.
  6. Anti-inflammatory drugs: Take ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, etc.) to bring down inflammation.
  7. When to see the doctor: See the doctor if there is significant swelling, stabbing or radiating pain, numbness, or the limb appears deformed.

What You Need

  • ice bag
  • elastic bandage

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