With March Madness in full swing, we are seeing more and more basketball-related injuries, particularly ankle and wrist sprains. A sprain is an injury to the joint tissue that typically occur when the joint overstretches or is overloaded by a sudden twist or fall. They can also be caused by overuse in repetitive activities or sports. The sprain results in swelling, loss of movement, inability to support weight, pain, and occasional discoloration. In some instances a sprain can feel feel a lot like a fracture.
The most common location of a sprain is extremity joints, such as the ankle and wrist, but I have seen my fair share of neck sprain as well. In treating these sprains, a good acronym to remember is HI-RICE – hydrate, ibuprofen, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. The following is a summary of the steps you should take to treat a sprain:
- HYDRATE. As with any illness or injury, always drink plenty of water. Water is essential for recovery.
- IBUPROFEN. It will reduce swelling and help control joint inflammation. If you are an athlete you can get a special prescription from your physician for a higher dosage to help speed along your recovery.
- REST. Stay off this injured joint as much as possible. You can use crutches, and in many instances, the injured area should be immobilized with a support brace or splint.
- ICE. You should ice the injury as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the longer the injury will take to heal. For the first two days of the injury, you should apply ice for 20 to 40 minutes every 2 to 4 hours.
- COMPRESS. To further reduce swelling, wrap the injured area with an elastic bandage. Make sure it is snug, but does not cut off circulation.
- ELEVATE. Elevate the injury above the heart, which also further reduce swelling.
After three days, you should start applying heat to the sprained area which will help speed along the healing process even more.
-By: C. Dillon
Chris Dillon is VP at MMAR Medical Group Inc., a wholesale distributor of comfort footwear offering a wide selection of diabetics shoes as well as a wide selection of support braces.