First Aid for Sprains

If you suffer a strain or sprain injury, think R-I-C-E

(Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate):

  • REST. Stop using the injured part. The use of slings, splints and crutches may be helpful. You may borrow a sling or a pair of crutches from the Student Health Center. Call 804.752.3041.
  • ICE. Apply ice as soon as possible to ease pain and slow internal bleeding and swelling. Never apply ice directly to the skin; place a towel between the ice bag and skin. Ice the injured area for 20-30 minutes, three times a day.
  • COMPRESS. Elevate injured limb above the heart for at least 15 minutes prior to wrapping with Ace bandage to decrease swelling and lessen pain. The bandage should be snug but not tight. Remove ACE bandage while sleeping.
  • ELEVATE. Pillows can be used. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen or naproxen may be helpful for pain and swelling.

Call the Student Health Center if you have:

  • Loss of movement or sensation
  • Severe pain or pain that lasts more than 24 hours
  • No reduction in swelling after 24 hours