RICE is for more than just eating

Strains and Sprains are a very common form of injury that must be treated by first aiders.

Delayed or incorrect treatment of this kind of injury can lead to greatly increased pain for the casualty and a lengthened recovery time.  It’s important to be able to correctly identify a sprain or a strain and to be able to use the RICE treatment method correctly.

Read more to see how to identify a Sprains and strain and provide the correct treatment

Identify a Sprain or Strain

A sprain is an injury that involves the over-extension of ligaments and other soft tissues around a joint such as a wrist or ankle

A strain occurs away from joints and involves an overstretched or torn muscle or tendon.  Common examples of strains include the calf or thigh.

What to look for

Some signs and symptoms of a strain or sprain are:

  • Severe pain
  • Swelling
  • Loss of power to the injured area
  • Loss of mobility

How do we treat a sprain or strain?

After performing an primary and secondary assessment of the casualty, you should administer the RICE treatment:

  • Rest – Rest the injured limb in a comfortable position
  • Ice – Ice pack applied to the injured area.  This should be applied so that it can be easily removed if the cold becomes uncomfortable or painful for the casualty.
  • Compression – Apply a compression bandage to the injured area.  It should firmly support the injury without cutting off the blood supply.
  • Elevation – Elevate the injured limb slightly to decrease blood flow to the affected area.  Do not force the limb into a position that causes additional discomfort for the casualty

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