Sprains and StrainsStrains occur when the muscle is overstretched, leading to a partial tear. Sprains are injuries to a ligament, a tough band of tissue that links two bones together at or near a joint. Commonly sprained joints include the wrist, knee and ankle.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of strains, and more particularly sprains, are very similar to those of a broken bone. There may be pain, particularly on movemenr, swelling and bruising (usually a little while after the accident). It is often impossible to tell if an injury is a sprain or a fracture without an X-ray and it is not unusual for sprains to take as long a time to heal as a simple break.
If in doubt, treat the injury as a broken bone and seek further medical help.
First Aid Treatment
The person suffering the injury may often sense that the area is not broken she may have suffered similar injuries before, particularly if the injury has occurred through sport. If both of you are confident that there is no other injury, then the best treatment is:
Alternative cold compresses
If ice is not readily available, soak a flannel or other piece of material in very cold water, wring this out and apply to the injury. Replace this every 2-3 minutes as the material warms up. Alternatively, consider the contents of che freezer. Frozen peas, for example, make an excellent cold compress as the bag moulds to the shape of the injury.
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