Treating Sprains and Strains

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A strain is an injury caused by overstretching muscles. A sprain is an injury to the tissue surrounding a joint. These types of injuries can cause pain and swelling. It is possible to have both injuries at the same time.

How to treat your injury: The easiest way to treat your injury is to remember R.I.C.E..

R = Rest: Try not to put weight on the injured joint for 24-48 hours. Support a sprained wrist or elbow with a sling. Tape a sprained finger or toe to a healthy one.

I = Ice: Immediately apply ice or cold packs to the injured area to reduce swelling. Place a cloth between your skin and the ice or cold pack. This should be done for 10 minutes every hour.

C = Compression: Wrap the injury with a flexible cloth bandage to reduce swelling.

E = Elevation: Try to keep the injured area raised above your heart.

More tips:

  • Relieve pain and inflammation with aspirin or ibuprofen.
  • Report all injuries to your supervisor.
  • When pain and swelling have begun to subside, begin gently moving and stretching the injured joint and gradually phase into strengthening exercises.

Signs it may be more than a strain or sprain:

  • Intense pain and swelling (indicating a possible fracture).
  • Cold, blue, or numb area beyond the injury.
  • Severe pain after two days of home treatment.
  • No improvement after four days.

KEMI does not assume liability for the content of information contained herein. Safety and health remain your responsibility. This information is to be used for informational purposes only and not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for proper training, supervision or manufacturers’ instructions/recommendations. KEMI, by publication of this information, does not assume liability for damage or injury arising from reliance upon it. Compliance with this information is not a guarantee or warranty that you will be in conformity with any laws or regulations nor does it ensure the absolute safety of any person, place or object, including, but not limited to, you, your occupation, employees, customers or place of business.