Sprain & Strain Treatments

Treatment of a sprains and strains is often accomplished with the "RICE" method. If you are unsure of the severity of your sprain or strain, talk to your doctor before beginning any treatment or rehab. "RICE" stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate. Below you will find a few products that may help in the treatment of common injuries such as wrist sprains, twisted ankles, hamstring strains, and groin pulls.


Ice treatment is most commonly used for acute injuries. If you have a recent injury (within the last 48 hours), where swelling is a problem, you should be using ice treatment. Ice packs can help minimize swelling around the injury. Ice treatments may also be used for chronic conditions, such as overuse injuries in athletes. In this case, ice the injured area after activity. Never ice a chronic injury before activity. However, icing after activity will help control the inflammatory response. Be careful when icing, as ice applied for too long, too frequently can actually cause problems. Most often ice is recommended to be applied for no longer than 15 minutes, and no more frequently than once per hour.


Heat treatments should be used for chronic conditions to help relax and loosen tissues, and to stimulate blood flow to the area. Use heat treatments on chronic conditions, such as overuse injuries, before participating in activities. When using heat treatments, be very careful to use a moderate heat for a limited time (be careful of burns). Never leave heating pads or towels on for extended periods or while sleeping. Heating can also be done before stretching to loosen the body before activity. By heating before your stretch you will relax the muscles and tendons.


Support braces can help patients who have either had a recent wrist sprain injury or those who tend to injure their wrists easily. These braces act as a gentle support to wrist movements. They will not prevent severe injuries, but may help you perform simple activities while rehabilitating from a wrist sprain. Unless the goat is complete immobilization, wrist splints should be removed periodically to ensure the joint remains flexible. Sometimes people wear splints too frequently, leading to stiffness of the joint and weakness of the muscles surrounding the joint.


Ankle braces act in a similar manner to the wrist supports mentioned above. While these will not prevent all injuries, they often help those who tend to be prone to ankle sprains. I prefer the lace-up ankle braces, but many prefer the simplicity of a sleeve-type support. The ankle brace should be snug, but not tight. It needs to be loosened if the toes tingle or become cool. As with wrist braces, most often these ankle braces should be removed to maintain mobility and work the muscles surrounding the ankle joint. Excessive use of the brace can lead to weakening of the muscles surrounding the ankle. In young athletes, it's especially important to maintain an ankle exercise routine to prevent dependence on the brace.


Use compression when elevating a sprain or strain in early treatment. Using an Ace bandage, wrap the area overlapping the elastic wrap by one-half of the width of the wrap. The wrap should be snug, but not cutting off circulation to the extremity. So, if your fingers or toes become cold, blue, or tingle, re-wrap! Applying compression is most helpful in the very early stages to prevent excessive fluid accumulation, but can also help to squeeze out excess fluid accumulation in the soft-tissues. Some athletes prefer compression garments, such as compression stockings, to help accomplish this goal.


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