Sprains

Cause

Sudden twisting injury to a joint.

Treatment

Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (R.I.C.E.)

Rest

Avoid using the joint, especially for weight-bearing activities; use crutches for ankle or knee sprains.

Ice

Apply ice packs or cold compresses the first 24 to 48 hours after your injury. After 48 hours, switch to a hot pack (such as a small towel immersed in hot water and put in plastic bag and covered by another small towel).

Compression

Wrap joint such as knee or ankle with elastic bandage; splint fingers to immobilize them.

Elevation

Raise the swollen joint above the level of your heart to reduce swelling, especially at night.

Prevention

Do stretching exercises before exercising. Chronically weak muscles may need a muscle development program to avoid recurrent sprains. Ask your healthcare provider for more information. To make an appointment at Student Health & Wellness, call 319-335-8394.