5 tips to help stop the pain of sprains

Could a sprain be causing you pain? "A sprain is when you tear the ligaments that connect a joint," says Dr. Sean Rockett, a highly rated sports medicine specialist with Orthopedics New England in Boston's western suburbs.

One of the most common orthopedic injuries, sprains often afflict a knee or ankle. "It can very painful, swollen and difficult to walk," Rockett says. While minor sprains may heal on their own, the most serious may require surgery. If you suspect a sprain, try these tips:

  • Elevate, rest and reduce stress to the injured limb. Use crutches or splints, if necessary.
  • Ice the injury. Avoid putting heat on the affected area, as it may promote blood flow and cause swelling.
  • Take a painkiller like Tylenol, but avoid anti-inflammatories like Advil, as they may hinder the healing process, Rockett says.
  • Wrap the injury with a bandage or sleeve to prevent swelling. Just make sure the wrap isn't so tight it affects circulation.
  • If you can't use the affected joint or have a fever of more than 100 degrees, seek medical attention. Delaying treatment can compound an injury or cause chronic pain.

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A sprain can be a major discomfort, especially for knees and ankles. Try these tips to reduce pain.

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