Sprains and Strains: What to Do
Your joints work hard for you. And if you sprain or strain one — either slowly over time or as a result of a sudden injury — you might quickly remember just how important they are in your daily life. Our Centra Care physicians often care for people who have hurt their ankle, knee, back or other joints and need help quickly.
We’ve got some tips to help you heal at home, but if you need help fast or have other concerning symptoms, we’re here for your family. Our locations are open seven days a week to serve you and your family.
At-Home Remedies to Try
Your ligaments are the rubber-band-like tissues that keep your joints in place. Sprains might feel like a “pop” or tear. Strains, on the other hand, are tears or stretches in your muscles and tendons, which are the tissues that connect your muscles to your bones.
For mild sprains and strains, you can take action at home in the first 24 to 48 hours to ease your symptoms and help the healing process. Keep the acronym RICE in mind, which stands for:
- Rest: take it easy on the joint you’ve hurt and avoid things that cause pain or soreness
- Ice: wrap an ice pack in a thin towel and put it on the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes, repeating every two hours as needed
- Compression: wrap the area snugly using an elastic bandage to help keep swelling down
- Elevation: if possible, prop up the injured joint on pillows while you’re sitting or lying down, raising it above the level of your heart
How to Get Help and Answers
If your injury doesn’t improve in a couple of days, visit your local Centra Care. Our doctors will examine the area and might ask you to move through your normal range of motion while watching for pain, tenderness, weakness or instability.
All our locations offer X-rays on-site, so our doctors can make sure you haven’t broken a bone (and save you a trip to the ER). In some cases, they might also recommend an MRI to determine the extent of the injury, since sprains and strains in soft tissue don't show up on X-rays.
Walk into any Centra Care location, even on a weekend, or make an appointment online ahead of time. We can help you find the answers you need.