Magazine article Work & Family Life

New Ideas for Treating Sprains and Strains

Magazine article Work & Family Life

New Ideas for Treating Sprains and Strains

Article excerpt

You have probably heard and may have followed the standard advice for treating a sprained ankle or knee: rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE). Now the doctor who coined that term, Gabe Mirkin, MD, author of The Sports Medicine Book, says new research has changed his mind about the "rice" and "ice" part.

A recent issue of Consumer Reports on Health suggests this new approach.

First things first

Before you try any treatment at all, decide whether you need to call your doctor. "If you are unable to walk more than three steps, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible to protect yourself from further injury," says A. Lynn Millar, PhD, author of the American College of Sports Medicine's patient guide to sprains and strains.

Call your doctor also if you are in a lot of pain, if the joint looks bent or otherwise abnormal, or if there is major swelling.

But if your injury is causing minor pain and swelling and you have a nearly full range of motion, here's what the experts suggest now.

Forget the bed rest

Instead of stopping activity until the injury is healed, the research suggests gentle exercise within the first two to three days. For example, you might try "drawing" the alphabet with a sprained ankle a couple of times a day. …

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