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Home >> Health Information >> First Aid >> Sprain

Sprain

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sprainA sprain is when the connecting tissues (ligaments) and other soft tissue structures of the joints have been torn or stretched. Most common sprains are ankle, knee or wrist sprains.

A strain is when the muscles and tendons have been torn or stretched. Sometimes called a 'muscle pull'. Strains are common in the neck or back, the front or back of the thigh, or the back of the lower leg.

Symptoms

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising/redness or discoloration at site of injury

Action

  • Avoid moving the area that is causing pain
  • Use the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) treatment.
    • Rest the injured area
    • Ice the area - apply ice packs as soon as possible and continue for 5 to 15 mins several times in the day
    • Compress the area by applying a compression (elastic) bandage
    • Elevate the injured area above your heart whenever possible to help prevent or limit swelling
  • Get medical help if there is severe pain, the person is unable to bear weight on the injured leg, the joint feels unstable or can't use the joint. This may mean the ligament was completely torn.
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