Mild sprains or strains are among the most common sports injuries. In most cases, you can treat these conditions at home using the following guidelines.
Step 1: Remember RICE When treating a mild sprain or strain due to a sports injury, remember the acronym RICE, which stands for "rest, ice, compression, and elevation."
TIP: Strains and sprains occur when you stretch a muscle tissue or tendon. Strains usually occur in the neck, back, thigh, and calf muscles; sprains occur at joints.
Step 2: Rest Rest the injured part of your body and avoid using it as much as possible for one or two days. Use crutches or a sling to keep the weight off an injured leg, arm, or shoulder.
TIP: Take anti-inflammatory pain relievers.
Step 3: Ice Apply an ice-pack to the injured area and cover the ice pack with a damp towel to prevent frostbite. Apply it to the injured area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, three or more times a day for the first few days.
Step 4: Compress Compress the injured area. Wrap an elastic bandage around the area, starting below the joint, taking care not to cut off the circulation.
Step 5: Elevate Elevate the injured area above the level of your heart. Rest it on pillows when you're sitting or lying down to keep excess fluid from accumulating.
FACT: New research suggests that weak muscles may cause the painful and debilitating condition known as "runner's knee."