Emergency Care for Urgent Situations: Sprains
Bones play an important role in our body, but they need to be connected together, especially in the joints so as to allow us to be able to move and make use of the various joints in the body. This is where the ligaments come in as not only are they tough enough to handle the pressure that is exerted in the various joints in the body through activity, they are also elastic which allows us to move our joints freely. However, as elastic, flexible and strong as they are, just like bones, they could become injured through being stretched or torn when they are forced beyond their normal range of motion, with this sort of injury being the one that is referred to as a sprain. Sprains are actually quite common, especially ankle sprains, with it being one of the most common types of injuries seen in an emergency room. You can sprain your ankle by rolling it or when you land awkwardly during a fall, and it can be quite painful for those who have ever experienced it. Other types of sprains include a sprained knee, wrist or even sprained fingers, especially the thumb. When you suffer a sprain, the severity can range from a stretched or partial torn ligament to a complete tearing of the ligament. It is therefore important to know the severity of your situation so that you know how to proceed, especially if you need to head over to an emergency room, something this article will look to help with.
Though they can be quite painful, minor sprains can actually be attended to at home, at least initially, with home remedies. It is therefore important to know if your sprain is minor based on the symptoms so that you can proceed with treatment at home. The first thing you need to do after suffering a sprain is stop activity immediately. In most cases, you won’t be able to continue anyway due to the pain and reduced range of motion due to the injury, but it is important to stop right away to prevent further damage to the ligaments in the joint. You should then check your symptoms to ascertain how severe your sprain is. In most cases, the more the pain and swelling, the more severe the injury is. Symptoms of a minor to moderate sprain, which can be handled at home include pain in and around the joint, though not too severe, swelling and bruising, trouble moving the injured joint as well as warmth of the area in and around the injured joint.
If you are experiencing such symptoms, you should go ahead and follow the R.I.C.E approach. Here, you should REST the injured part of the body which means that you should avoid putting any weight on it for a couple of days or so. This doesn’t mean you should avoid activity, it means that when you do, you shouldn’t put any weight on the injured part. You should also ICE the injured part using a cold pack so as to help keep down the swelling since sprains actually cause significant swelling. You should apply ice as soon as you get injured for the best effect and you should keep the ice on for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time four to eight times a day. This should be done in the first 48 hours of your injury, or until the swelling goes down. When using ice, don’t use it for too long and you should also not place it directly on the injured part. You should also COMPRESS the injured part with an elastic wrap or bandage, which are usually found in a first aid kit or can be bought over-the-counter. Finally, you should ELEVATE the injured part to an area that is above your heart if possible so as to help with the swelling. On top of the R.I.C.E approach, you can also make use of over-the-counter pain relievers for the pain.
However, it is also important to note that severe sprains require one to head over to the emergency room to be attended to. Some of the symptoms that indicate a severe sprain include severe pain and you are unable to bear any weight on the injured limb or even move it, you hear a popping sound during the injury, there are signs of infection over the injured part such as red streaks, fever or increased warmth, the injured joint appears badly crooked or bent, you have an open wound on the injured area or you develop numbness over the injured area. If you are experiencing such symptoms, then you should head over to an emergency room as soon as you can to be attended to as severe sprains, which may involve complete tearing of the ligaments and may require surgery, may lead to one developing chronic pain among other consequences if not treated properly. If your sprain injury re-injures a joint that has been injured before and even had surgery on, then you should also head over to an emergency room.
The above discussion will hopefully come in handy if you suffer a sprain and don’t know how to proceed, and will hopefully help you get the treatment you require so that you can make a full recovery.