Muscle and joint injuries are very common and the pain caused by them can be intolerable. A sprain occurs due to an injured ligament. Strains are injuries to muscles or tendons. Accidents, falls, or overexertion of the muscles can cause sprains and strains.
Proper first aid can help reduce pain and prevent the risk of future complications. Knowing the correct first aid techniques for sprains and strains can help reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling.
Well-timed first aid can help restore normal muscle function in a short period of time. If first aid is not administered on time, it can lead to serious complications later on.
Here are some tips for providing effective first aid for sprains and strains!
First response to the accident
First, check the injury. If it’s not severe, you can give RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).
Calm the victim and rest the sprained area for two to three days. If the injury is to the arm, foot, or leg, you can use a sling to immobilize the injured area. You can even treat an injured finger by tying it to the adjacent finger.
Apply ice packs to the injured area for twenty minutes once every hour. Gradually reduce to fifteen minutes every four hours. Wrap the ice cubes in a towel or plastic bag and gently press the ice pack onto the affected part. Applying ice cubes directly to the skin can cause ice burns. The ice pack helps reduce pain and swelling.
Compress by covering the joint or limb with an elastic bandage. Make sure the bandage allows enough air circulation inside. Compression helps reduce swelling and also provides rest to the joint to promote rapid healing.
Elevate the injured area above the level of the heart. You can keep the victim’s foot on a chair for ankle and knee sprains. For hand and wrist sprains, you can wear a sling to keep the affected area higher than the elbow.
How to reduce pain and inflammation
You can give over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or any other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Aspirin should not be administered if the victim is under eighteen years of age. You can apply ointments over the sprained area. Although they do not promote healing, they do produce a sensation of heat that helps mask pain.
Things to Avoid When Giving First Aid for Sprains and Strains
You should avoid applying heat packs. Hot baths, heat packs, and saunas increase pain and inflammation. However, you can apply heat packs to the injured area after seventy-two hours.
Massaging the affected area increases swelling and bleeding. After seventy-two hours, you can give it a gentle, relaxing massage.
Sprains and strains usually do not require medical help. More often, proper first aid administration can help reduce pain, swelling, stiffness, and inflammation. However, if the pain is severe and you suspect a fracture, it is recommended to seek medical help.