Treating sprains and strains depends on the joint involved and the severity of the injury.
For mild sprains and strains, your doctor likely will recommend basic self-care measures and an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
In cases of a mild or moderate sprain or strain, you should apply ice to the area as soon as possible to minimize swelling. In cases of severe sprain or strain, your doctor may immobilize the area with a brace or splint.
In some cases, such as in the case of a torn ligament or ruptured muscle, surgery may be considered.
Jan. 24, 2015
- Questions and answers about sprains and strains. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Sprains_Strains/default.asp. Accessed July 23, 2014.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 30, 2014.
- Sprains and strains: What's the difference? American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00111. Accessed July 23, 2014.
- Safran MR, et al. Instructions for Sports Medicine Patients. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 30, 2014.