• Alternative Names

    Joint sprain

    First Aid
    1. Apply ice immediately to help reduce swelling. Wrap the ice in cloth -- DO NOT place ice directly on the skin.
    2. Try NOT to move the affected area. To help you do this, bandage the affected area firmly, but not tightly. ACE bandages work well. Use a splint if necessary.
    3. Keep the swollen joint elevated above the level of the heart, even while sleeping.
    4. Rest the affected joint for several days.

    Aspirin, ibuprofen, or other pain relievers can help. DO NOT give aspirin to children.

    Keep pressure off the injured area until the pain subsides (usually 7-10 days for mild sprains and 3-5 weeks for severe sprains). You may require crutches when walking. Rehabilitation to regain the motion and strength of the joint should begin within one week.

    Do Not

    Call immediately for emergency medical assistance if

    Go to the hospital right away or call 911 if:

    • You suspect a broken bone
    • The joint appears to be deformed
    • You have a serious injury or the pain is severe
    • There is an audible popping sound and immediate difficulty using the joint

    Call your doctor if:

    • Swelling does not go down within 2 days
    • You have symptoms of infection -- the area becomes redder, more painful, or warm, or you have a fever over 100°F
    • The pain does not go away after several weeks