Four Steps to Treat a Sprain or Strain

My Doctor Finder
August 27, 2017

Ever had a sprain or strain? What did you do to relieve the pain and promote healing? One method of treating a sprain or strain is called the RICE Treatment. Read on to further know how you can treat this kind of minor injury by yourself.

  1. Rest
  • Rest and protect the injured limb. Take a break from any activity that may cause further pain in the injured area. Activities need to be cut especially during the first 24-48 hours after the injury - this is a critical treatment period. You can use a walker, splint, sling, or crutches to help you move around while letting the injured body part adequately rested.
  1. Ice
  • Ice the injured area. The cold compress will reduce the pain and swelling. For the first 48 hours post-injury, icing must be done 20 minutes at every 3-4 hours. Do not apply the ice directly to the skin, instead use a cloth for the compress. Also, do not ice the injured area for more than 20 minutes for this can cause more harm than good.
  1. Compression
  • Compress the area with an elastic wrap or bandage. This will help prevent or decrease swelling and also help support the injured ankle. Remember to not wrap the injured area too tightly for this can cause more swelling. Signs that the bandage is too tight include numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness, or swelling below the bandaged area. Seek for medical assistance if you think you need to use a wrap for longer than 48 to 72 hours.
  1. Elevation
  • Elevate the injured or sore area while applying ice. Try to keep the area at or above the level of your heart to help minimize the swelling. At night, you can elevate it by placing pillows under your arm or leg.

Another solution for relieving pain and soreness caused by sprain and strain are Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). However, you must remember to be safe with medicines and to always read and follow the instructions on the label.

Don’t forget that this sort of injuries may come back again. Once the pain and swelling are gone, try doing some stretching and strengthening exercises to avoid having strains and sprains quickly.

Reference: Cluett, J. (2016, April 22). Sprains and Strains. Very Well. Retrieved from ; Mayo Clinic. (2015, March 5). Sprain: First Aid. Retrieved from