Treating a sprained limb.


Small accidents and physical damage during life are inevitable, and some injuries are more common

than others. Spraining a limb is high on the list of injuries most likely to occur, principally because it

is so easy to do. Luckily, most sprains can be treated at home and don’t need a medical professional.

However, there are some useful tips which can be followed to ensure that you give the best

treatment that you can.

To start with

Firstly, get the patient to sit down. This will relieve both pain and pressure and alleviate shock. Then

fetch some ice wrapped in a tea towel, or similar, and press it against the injury. You should never

put ice directly against skin because it may cause a cold burn. This treatment should be done for 15-

20 minutes every 2-3 hours.

As a matter of priority, you must make sure that the affected limb is protected. As in, you need to be

sure that no further injury is going to be caused to the area and aggravate the existing injury. Using a

support bandage is a good way of achieving this, or in the case of feet then supportive shoes are


Once protected

Rest is also important. A good 48/72 hour period of rest will allow the damaged area to begin to heal

and prevent further injury. If the affected area is a leg or foot then consider using crutches; these are

an excellent way of facilitating mobility and protecting the limb at the same time.

Whilst the injured person is resting, ensure that compression is applied to the limb or joint. This

could be in the form of elastic bandage or a tubigrip – both are available from most pharmacies and

should be stored routinely as part of a home first aid kit. Compressing the area helps prevent both

swelling and further movement.

It’s also recommended that you should elevate the limb, supported by a pillow or similar, as this

prevents the blood flowing into the injured area and causing it to swell up dramatically.

Moving forward

Once the initial injury is dealt with and stabilised, then it’s time to think about the longer-term

recovery and what is going to aid that. There are some things which are best avoided during the

recovery period:

 Excessive heat

 Alcohol

 Running

 Massage

All of the above can make the injury worse and care should be taken.

Having said that, it’s important to continue with light movement so that the joint or limb doesn’t

stiffen up completely as that could set recovery back. However if it’s a severe sprain then there

should be less movement and more rest.

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