Treat and Prevent Strains and Sprains

Edited by Lor777, Charmed, Eng, Maria and 5 others

365-2010-07-30 - digits iv.jpg

An injury, especially a sprain or a strain is the most horrendous thing that can happen to anyone. It kind of keeps you tingling and hanging mid air for you can neither work nor sit still. These can simply drive anyone crazy. It isn't easy to deal with these injuries. For, they don't permanently handicap anyone and yet, you can't walk around the house either. So, you are left sitting there despite yourself. However, why should you when these are very well treatable and can set you running about in absolutely no time. However, for that you need to first understand your injury and then, and only then, should you proceed to treat it. A strain is an injury to a muscle caused by over-stretching. Also called a "pulled muscle," the elastic fibers that make up the muscle are overextended and may tear, bleed, and contract. A sprain is an injury to a ligament and other soft tissue around a joint. Ligaments are bands of fiber that connect the bones at a joint. They can be stretched or torn when a joint is twisted, "jammed" or overextended. With a sprain, slight bleeding may produce skin discoloration that resolves slowly. Here, you shall be updated on how exactly can you treat these strains and sprains and cure them in a much lesser time.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help


How to Treat Strains and Sprains

To treat sprains and strains, the basic treatment comprises a two stage process abbreviated as RICE and MSA. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. MSA stands for movement, strength and alternate activity. RICE is for immediate injury while MSA helps to heal the injury and avoid further problems.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help
Rice 1.jpg

RICE process should be begun immediately after injury:

  1. 1
    Do not put weight on the injured joint or muscle, and limit movement in the area of the injury. Use crutches, splints, or sling as needed. In fact, it would best be that you make as little movement as possible. If you can, get someone to help you all the time so that you may not be strained at all. This can ease your pain to a great extent. For, the more pressure that you shall put on it, the longer it shall take to heal. Thus, it is your time to relax and read that novel or watch those movie series that you wanted to. You could watch episodes and episodes of sitcoms without any guilt if you please to. Thus, it is your break time and hence, you ought to take as much rest as possible.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help
  2. 2
    Apply an ice pack 10 to 15 minutes every hour for two hours, hen leave ice off for two hours. For protection, place a washcloth between bare skin and ice. Repeat this cycle for 48 hours or until the swelling has subsided. Do not use heat as long as there is swelling. The ice pack works wonders for you and hence, instead of just leaving it away keep applying ice packs constantly. Ice packs is one of the best remedies for sprains and strains. You can either wrap ice-cubes in a cloth and apply on your injury or you can buy a ready made ice-pack from the market. The ready made ice-packs work far better than the ones used at home. However, the home-made ones aren't a bad deal either. If you keep applying ice-pack at regular intervals, the healing process shall speed up and you shall be surprised at the progress of recovery.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help
  3. 3
    Wrap injured area in an elastic bandage for support and protection. This will give you a lot of relief and you shall feel it on the spot. This not only works for sprains and strains but also works for a random pain in the muscles. This gives you immediate relief. Obviously, it will not cure you instantly but it will give you a whole lot of relief. Surely, your doctor must have given you pain killers, have those also but do the compression exercise at least, once in 2 days and if the pain is severe, twice a day and you shall feel good.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help
  4. 4
    When you apply ice over the injured part, sitting, or lying down, put a pillow under the injured part. Injured part should be raised above the level of the heart as and when possible. Elevating your injured part, also changes the course of blood circulation in that particular area and hence, provides you with the much needed relief. In some cases, the effect may be otherwise but none the less, desired and hence, take it for a while and then, relax your leg. However, as much as possible, elevate it with the support of a pillow and not otherwise. For, it may end up harming you rather than benefiting you. Also, almost always do it while applying ice so that you may have more benefits of the application of ice.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

The MSA process can be started only if the initial swelling is gone:

Warm up 1.jpg
  1. 1
    Begin gently moving the joint to resume full range of motion.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help
  2. 2
    Even if the swelling is gone and you have reached your full potential of motion, you should follow a gradual approach to strengthen the injured part.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help
  3. 3
    Resume regular exercise through activities and sports that do not place a strain on the injured area. Go slowly and stop any activities cause discomfort.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

How to Prevent Strains and Sprains

Muscle injury.jpg
  1. 1
    Use correct form in all work and play activities.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help
  2. 2
    Adjust equipment and furniture to fit your needs.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help
  3. 3
    Go slowly when starting a new activity or sport.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help
  4. 4
    User warm up and cool down exercises to help your body prepare and recover safely.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help
  5. 5
    Take frequent breaks when performing any continuous activity.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help
  6. 6
    Do not push beyond your strength or ability.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help
  7. 7
    Advance your skill level gradually.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help
  8. 8
    Reduce the risk of falling.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help
  9. 9
    Monitor the area for any objects that might be tripped on or might cause injury like strains and sprains.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Tips Tricks & Warnings

  • Start RICE immediately after your injury has occurred.
  • Continue RICE until swelling is gone and then start MSA.
  • Slow, gentle stretching during the healing process will make scar tissue flexible and prevent limited movement later.
  • Lastly, injuries are sometimes inevitable and occur, no matter how hard you try to prevent them and hence, don't let these injuries break your spirit. Stand strong against them.

Referencing this Article

If you need to reference this article in your work, you can copy-paste the following depending on your required format:

APA (American Psychological Association)
Treat and Prevent Strains and Sprains. (2016). In VisiHow. Retrieved Mar 24, 2017, from

MLA (Modern Language Association) "Treat and Prevent Strains and Sprains." VisiHow, Accessed 24 Mar 2017.

Chicago / Turabian "Treat and Prevent Strains and Sprains." Accessed Mar 24, 2017.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


VisiHow welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.

Ask the author

Premier Author
46 Articles Started
651 Article Edits
20,315 Points
Lor777 is a premier author with VisiHow. Lor777 has achieved the level of "Lieutenant" with 20,315 points. Lor777 has started 46 articles (including this one) and has also made 651 article edits. 173,000 people have read Lor777's article contributions.
Lor777's Message Board
Lor777: Hi, my name is Lor777.
Lor777: Can I help you with your problem about "Treat and Prevent Strains and Sprains"?

Article Info

Categories : Bones & Muscles

Recent edits by: Graeme, Reema, Jonathan

Share this Article:

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 1,387 times.

Do you have a question not answered in this article?
Click here to ask one of the writers of this article

Thank Our Volunteer Authors.

Would you like to give back to the community by fixing a spelling mistake? Yes | No