Health & Safety

Carolyn Agresta
Carolyn Agresta
Nurse-Greenon High School

Wellness Wednesdays

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With summer practically here, everyone is more physically active. This increases the possibility of sprains and strains.

  • Strains are also referred to as “pulled muscles”. They occur when a muscle is stretched too far and too fast-causing a tear in the muscle and supportive tissue. Strains can feel like pain, stiffness, and reduced muscle function. Strains usually heal in a few days.
  • Sprains are stretched or torn ligaments often caused by an extreme bend or twist of a joint-often a knee or ankle. Sprains can feel like immediate pain and possibly swelling. There is pain associated with “normal” use. Sprains require rest. They sometimes need to be immobilized to promote healing. They sometimes need a doctor’s care if the sprain is severe.

Treatment for sprains and strains is basically the same, though sprains may require longer rest and doctor’s care.

  • “R.I.C.E.” (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) will help the injury heal. You will want to rest the injury for at least 1-2 days, or longer if it is a sprain. Elevate the extremity to reduce swelling. Ice the area for no longer than 20 minutes at a time and for no more than 24 hours. Wrap ice in a thin towel to protect the skin from frostbite injury. Later, you can wrap the sore area in an ace wrap or tape it to give the muscle support.
  • Prompt ice treatment speeds healing of sprains and strains, allowing you to get back to normal activity sooner.
  • After 2 days, begin simple range of motion exercises and apply heat to relieve pain. Do not apply heat to the initial injury.
  • Use a pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) while the injury heals.
  • Seek prompt medical attention if the injury does not get better.

Info gathered from

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