Sprains heal more quickly with the right care. But in the moment, it can be challenging to remember whether to use ice or heat to immediately treat a sprain.
Cold application decreases bleeding, swelling, pain and disability associated with bone, joint and muscle injuries. Therefore, you’ll want to cool the sprained area immediately by:
- Using a plastic bag filed with a mixture of ice and water.
- Placing a barrier (e.g. thin towel) between the plastic bag and skin.
- Limiting each cold application to no more than 20 minutes.
Check out the HSI Emergency Care blog for more information about first aid treatment for sprains.