Sprains can be experienced by anyone, both those who rarely exercise, and athletes who train every day. In general, sprains can be handled alone at home.
Sprains usually occur when you suddenly change direction of movement or slow down, usually when exercising. It could also be when falling, colliding with people or other objects, or landing in an improper position after jumping.
In the conditions above, the ligament is accidentally forced to stretch beyond its ability so that it can cause the ligament to tear or twist. Ligament damage is what underlies the occurrence of sprains. Ligaments are ribbon-like tissue covering the joint. The existence of ligaments functions to connect one bone to another. The ankles, thumbs and toes, wrists, and knees are the areas that most often experience sprains.
Sprains are usually characterized by certain symptoms, including pain around the joints that have a sprain, bruising and swelling in the joints, as well as the inability of the joints to support the load. Bruises can also arise that appear some distance from the joint sprain due to blood seeping along the muscles. The severity of the sprain depends on how heavy the ligament damage is.
Generally Can Be Handled Alone
Sprains must be treated properly to prevent recurrence in the future, such as long-term pain and joint instability. In most cases, sprains can be treated alone at home. The following steps can be followed:
- Stop doing activities or movements that can worsen the injury, at least within 2-3 days after the injury.
- Apply the wrapped ice in a towel to the injured area for at least 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours a day. But avoid applying ice directly to the injured area.
- To limit the movement that can worsen the condition of the injury and prevent widespread swelling, bandage the injured area with elastic bandages. Make sure this area is wrapped tightly, but not to obstruct blood flow. Take off the bandage before you sleep.
- Another step to prevent swelling, put the injured leg or limb in a higher position. You can use an additional bench as a base to put your feet when sitting or a pillow while sleeping.
Overcome Pain with Pain Medication
To relieve pain due to sprains, you can apply a pain reliever cream or gel to the injured area. According to various studies in patients with sprains, topical pain reliever is more effective than using nothing to ease pain and speed up the healing process.
Now there are a variety of options for drugs outside the pain reliever, ranging from gel, topical cream, to spray. Although both relieve pain, but these drugs can contain different ingredients, such as the following:
- Salicylates: generally found in creams that are easily absorbed by joints close to the skin, for example in the knee, elbow and finger joints.
- Counterirritants (such as methylcylicylate, menthol, and camphor) that cause cold sensations that distract you from pain.
- Eugenol: the active ingredient which is widely used as a natural pain reliever is obtained from clove oil.
- NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs).
- Capcaisin: is an ingredient contained in chili pepper causing a hot sensation on the skin when smeared.
You can buy various types of topical pain relievers directly at the pharmacy. But even though it is an over-the-counter medicine, there are several things you should do before using this product:
- Read the instructions for use carefully.
- Whatever product you use, keep in mind not to apply it if there are open sores on the injured area.
- Avoid applying it together with a tight bandage.
- Wash your hands and avoid rubbing eyes after using this product.
- Before using drugs that contain salicylates, see your doctor if you are taking blood-thinning medications or are allergic to aspirin.
In addition to drugs for external use, there are also drugs for pain relief, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Although experts have not agreed which is more effective among the use of topical pain medications than taking drugs, but at least the risk of the emergence of side effects from the use of topical drugs is lower.
In addition, so that sprains do not bring more pain, avoid areas of injury from exposure to heat, for example due to sauna baths, warm water, or direct sunlight. Not recommended to undergo massage because it can risk aggravating injury, and avoid consuming alcohol because of the risk of slowing down the healing process. It is no less important, delay doing excessive physical activity.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if self-care is unsuccessful and your sprains do not improve after three days. There are also some situations where you must immediately go to the hospital, that is, if you experience unbearable pain, the joints cannot hold the load at all, the injured area feels numb or cannot feel anything, has repeated injuries in the same area, or there is a reddish area that widens from where the joints were sprained.
Such cases may require more complicated treatment at the hospital. In cases where regular pain medication use does not improve, the doctor may give stronger pain medications, such as codeine. Brace or splint placement may also be needed to minimize joint movement. Physical therapy or physiotherapy can be recommended by doctors to help patients restore joints to normal function. In addition, although rare, surgical treatment needs to be done if there is muscle damage or tears in the ligaments.
So Sprains Never Come Again
Sprains and muscle damage are more at risk, especially if it is your first time doing a type of exercise that involves muscle parts that are rarely trained. However, athletes, especially athletes running and gymnastics, can also experience sprains if the burden of exercise that is too heavy makes the muscles tense.
Muscles and joints of people who rarely exercise tend to be inflexible and more at risk of sprains. Poor exercise techniques and lack of warm up can also cause sprains. In addition, muscle fatigue can not support the joints perfectly.
Therefore, to prevent sprains, wear comfortable clothes and appropriate shoes and warm up before exercise. It is recommended to stretch before exercising. This step helps the joints and muscles become more flexible so it is not easy to injury. It’s best to postpone exercise when you are physically tired. As a preventative measure everyday, consumption of healthy and fresh food to maintain muscle and joint strength.