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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Injuries and Wounds > Sprains: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Injuries and Safety


Sprains | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the injury?

Apply the RICE technique: Rest, Ice, Compression and Immobilization, and Elevation.

  • Rest means to restrict movement and weight-bearing in the injured area. A splint can be used if necessary.
  • Ice refers to the application of an ice pack or cold compress to the affected area.
  • Compression involves placing a bandage lightly around the injured area to decrease swelling. Immobilization means to avoid unnecessary activity of the affected area, particularly weight-bearing.
  • Elevation means to keep the injured area above the heart if possible.
  • Medications that reduce pain and inflammation, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, may be taken. Aspirin should never be given to children 19 years of age or younger, since it is associated with a disorder known as Reye's syndrome.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Pain medications and anti-inflammatory medications may cause stomach upset or allergic reaction.

    What happens after treatment for the injury?

    Most sprain injuries take from 4 to 6 weeks to heal. It is important to allow these areas to heal fully and properly before going back to usual activities. It is also important that the sprained area be protected for several months after the injury, since there will be some weakness. Problems may worsen if the injured area is not protected or if activity is resumed too soon after the injury. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

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    Sprains: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: James Broomfield, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 08/09/01

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