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How to Recognize and Treat Common Sports Injuries

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."

You Will Need

  • Rest
  • Crutches
  • Sling
  • Ice pack
  • Damp towel
  • Elastic bandage
  • Pillows
  • Anti-inflammatory pain relievers (optional)

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