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MONDAY, March 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- If you love exercise, one of the hardest parts of suffering an injury is being sidelined. But if you take the time to heal a sprain or strain correctly, you'll get back in the game faster.
First, understand your injury to treat it appropriately. A sprain affects ligaments, the bands of tissue that connect bones at a joint. A strain is damage to muscle and the fibers that attach it to bone.
Both injuries are classified from first-degree (the mildest) to third-degree (the most severe). Resist minimizing your injury. If you're in a lot of pain or can't put weight on a limb, call your doctor. Getting the right treatment is essential for a full and healthy recovery. You might need a splint, protective pad or brace, or crutches.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, treatment starts with an approach called PRICE, a variation of RICE, to limit swelling and speed healing.
"PRICE" steps include:
- Protect against any further injury.
- Restrict activity for 48 to 72 hours.
- Ice the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes every 60 to 90 minutes.
- Compress the area with an elastic bandage or other compression aid.
- Elevate the injured area to minimize swelling.
The next stage usually includes gentle movement of the muscle or joint, mild resistance exercise, and a very gradual return to your favorite activity.
Depending on the location of the injury, you may be able to do some form of cardio, like walking, using a stationary bike, swimming, or walking or running in water. Working with a physical therapist can keep you on the correct rehab track.
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