Sprains & Strains

Student First Aid Sprains and Strains

A SPRAIN is an injury to ligament and soft tissue surrounding a joint (like the wrist or ankle) causing intense pain, restricted movement, rapid swelling, bruising and/or shock. 

A STRAIN is a torn or over-stretched muscle or tendon (eg. groin, hamstring) resulting in sharp and sudden pain, muscular tenderness or reduced functionality and/or shock.

Follow the R-I-C-E-R method for both:

R-est the patient and their injury completely

I-ce the injured area with a wrapped ice pack for 20 minutes every 2 hours for the next 24 hours

C-ompression bandage firmly and evenly around the injured area to reduce swelling and bruising 

E-levate the injured limb, cushioning the affected area. Keep the patient warm and lying down with both legs raised if possible

R-efer for medical assistance, or call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance if the patient remains in shock, severe pain or is unable to be transported.

Avoid H-A-R-M: Heat, Alcohol, Re-injury, Massage for 48-72 hours after a sprain or strain injury.