First aid for sprains

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Sprains are common injuries, especially among those who are physically active or suffer a major blow or fall. Ligaments are strong and flexible fibers that surround the joint and hold it in place, however when the joint moves violently it can cause a tear or break in the ligament, which is known as a sprain.

The ankle sprains and knee are perhaps the most common causes of injury that causes pain and inflammation in the joint. When the joint presents great inflammation and pain, medical attention is essential, since we could be facing a ligament tear, however minor sprains can be treated at home. In both cases, it is advisable to follow certain primary care steps to ensure the well-being of the joint. If you do not know where to start, at FastlyHealwe explain which are the first aid for sprains that you should follow and in which cases to contact a doctor.

Steps to follow:

Sprains occur when the joint undergoes a forced movement, one that is not natural for the joint itself, which ends up injuring the ligaments. Faced with a distention or slight tear of the ligament, it is possible to treat the injury without going to a specialist, as long as the pain and inflammation are not excessive. However, if the ligament breaks, it is essential to go to a health care center, as a medical evaluation is essential.

Whatever the case, with an injury of this type, some first aid should be followed to reduce inflammation, prevent the injury from increasing and recover faster.


To treat a sprain, the first thing we must do is apply cold to the injured area , this will help immediately to reduce the inflammation and pain caused by the sprain. It is recommended to apply a cold gel compress or an ice pack, but always protected by a cloth or cloth so that the direct cold on the skin does not cause damage.

It is recommended to apply the cold as soon as possible once the injury has occurred, let the ice or the compress act on the area for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat at least 4 times a day, you can even do it between 6 and 8 times a day in the case of significant inflammations.


Once you have applied cold to the area to reduce inflammation, you should continue with the first aid suggestions for sprains. In this case, it is recommended to wrap the area with a bandage that helps limit movement, it does not need to be too tight or it may cause discomfort.

Elastic bandages, sold in pharmacies, are highly recommended for their effectiveness, although you can also use ordinary gauze to wrap the area. If you opt for gauze and the injury is to the ankle, wrap the sole of the foot first until it is relatively immobile, then proceed to do the same with the ankle. In the case of the knee, you only have to wrap it completely to immobilize it.


Another important first aid measure for sprains is to keep the area elevated above the heart . This will help promote circulation and significantly reduce inflammation, so it is recommended that during the first days the area is always raised, even at night. As we recover we can reduce the time we spend in this position.


The inflamed joint and ligaments must have complete rest for at least 2 days , this means that you should not put weight on the area. The use of crutches or slings is recommended to avoid supporting the weight of the body in the affected area.

If the sprain is mild it is likely that between 7 and 10 days it will be completely healed, however in more serious cases the recovery can take weeks. As the inflammation and pain decrease, we can use the affected joint little by little, always without forcing it or supporting it completely until we are recovered.


Because sprains cause great pain, taking over-the -counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen will go a long way in reducing discomfort. Although some people choose aspirin, it is not recommended to give it to children or consume it if they are taking blood thinners.

The pharmacist may also offer the patient other types of over-the-counter pain relievers to help reduce discomfort.


In some cases sprains can be considered medical emergencies that require immediate attention, for example:

  • If you suspect that it is a fracture and not a sprain.
  • After the blow or injury, you hear a loud popping sound and you cannot move the joint well, which could indicate a torn ligament or a significant injury to the joint.
  • If you notice that the joint is not in its correct position.
  • If you notice that the joint is numb or cannot be used or moved, indicating a torn ligament.
  • The pain is very severe or the inflammation is very strong.
  • You have injured an area that has suffered one or more injuries previously.

It is also advisable to see a doctor if:

  • After two days with the sprain, the injury does not deflate and the pain does not reduce.
  • Other symptoms such as redness in the area, heat in the area, and fever occur, indicating a possible infection.
  • After several weeks you continue to feel a lot of pain and discomfort in the area.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to First aid for sprains , we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .

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