First Aid Handbook: Sprains

A runner has sprained her ankle and is in pain
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Your daughter takes a charge in her basketball game and puts her hands out to break the fall. Your son runs to catch the family dog and steps the wrong way on the pavement. You reach just the wrong way for an item and feel stabbing pain in your wrist. These and more are common experiences that can lead to you wondering if a sprain is suspected. Before you come see our team at Integrity Urgent Care, here are a few tips you should know about sprains.


Both a strain and a sprain refer to overstretching or tearing of soft tissue around your joints, according to Exactly which tissue is impacted is what differentiates the two. After the initial pain of the event, there are several symptoms that could be seen with a sprain. The first is swelling or bruising at the area as the muscles around the area respond to the injury. There will be limited flexibility at the joint and there may be pain as you test the joint to see what your range of motion is. Use caution while you assess how you feel.


The best course of action is referred to with the acronym RICE. First, rest is needed, try not to use the joint. Next, ice compresses can be used on the joint, being careful not to make direct contact with the skin if you are feeling discomfort from the cold. This step should be done for 20 minutes at a time, with 20 minutes off, for the first 24-48 hours. Compression can help by wrapping the area with an ace bandage or other sports wrap. Elevation as much as possible will help reduce swelling significantly, ideally, above your heart.


We guess it would be obvious to tell our patients they need to be careful, which is the best way to prevent a sprain. We also know accidents happen and sometimes sprains cannot be avoided. Stretch and warm up properly before exercise to help loosen your body and joints. Strengthen your entire body to ensure your muscles and bones can adapt and flex as needed. During inclement weather or hazardous conditions, exercise more caution, especially watching your footing. Get the rest you need to let your body recover, even if no injury occurs.

When to See a Doctor

While most sprains can be healed with rest, ice, and care at home, there are sometimes a doctor may need to evaluate your injury. If you have numbness or tingling at the injury or down from the injury, you should come see our Integrity Urgent Care team. If you are experiencing pain when standing or trying to walk or cannot flex the joint, come see us then too. If you suspect it is more than a sprain, it is better to come in to be seen, before bigger damage is done to your muscles or ligaments.

To be assessed for a sprain or other injury, come see us at one of our several locations across Texas. Integrity Urgent Care can give a quick check to your issue and order imaging that will confirm the best course of action. Our caring staff will have you back on your feet in no time and welcome you and your family for the best possible care.

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