Q: What are the RIGHT things to do when I sprain my joint such as my ankle or finger?
Amazon We have heard of all kinds of treatment when it comes to sprains: some come from physicians and others come from folk or traditional prescription. When there's a conflict between them whom should we listen? A classic example is when someone sprains their ankle whether they should apply ICE pack or HOT pack. Which is correct? Does it matter anyway? Read on to find the correct answer.
Disclaimer: I've consulted at least three certified physicians and the following are their collective feedback.
1. Apply ICE or COLD Pack to the Inured Area for up to 48 Hours
Let's dive right into it. When you sprain your joint the first thing you should do is apply ice pack to the affected area for up to 48 hours counting from the time when the injury occurs.
The purpose of taking this action is to STOP internal bleeding. As soon as you sprain your joint you damage the internal mechanism and cause internal bleeding. Applying low temperature to the injured part helps slow down the bleeding and minimize the internal damage.
2. Afterwards Apply HOT Pack to the Injured Area for at least 48 Hours
Once internal bleeding has been stopped you need to facilitate blood circulation in the injured area. There are many benefits of taking this action, the biggest of all is take away the waste resulted from blood circulation more quickly. You do so by applying high temperature to the injured area such as a hot pack for 15 minutes at a time, two times or more a day, with the highest tolerable temperature possible. Anything hot would do if you don't have hot packs.
You should take this action religiously for at least TWO days. If your injury is serious do it for one week. There's no side effect anyway.
3. Take NSAID if Necessary
NSAID stands for Non Steroid Anti Inflammation Drop. It represents drugs or medicines that fight inflammation to ease the pain during the healing process. If you are in serious pain and you are not allergic to NSAID you should take this medication at least three times a day in general. Over the counter NSAID medicines include ibuprofen and aspirin.
If you are not in pain, do NOT take NSAID unless your physician says so.
What if I Broke my Bone?
If you have a broken or fractured bone on top of a sprain you should go see a doctor. They would treat the injury and bandage braces to the injured part to fasten the broken bone in place. If they don't ask them why. With time the fracture will heal by itself. Depending on the severity of your injury you may need to go through surgery, but most of the times you are spared surgical care.
Things to Know: Do NOT Massage
Do NOT massage the injured area! Massaging may make matters worse and it's just not a smart thing to do!
Questions? Let me know!