What you can try at home
Most mild to moderate sprains and strains can be treated at home using the PRICE technique.
- PRICE stands for protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation. For information on applying PRICE, read sprains and strains: treatments.
- For the first 72 hours after a sprain or muscle strain you should avoid heat – such as hot baths – alcohol, running and massage.
- Try to keep your sprained joint mobile, unless the sprain is severe. The injury will heal quicker if you move the joint as soon as you’re able to.
- If you feel pain from a strain or sprain, use paracetamol in the first instance. If paracetamol doesn’t help, ask your pharmacist for advice.
When to get professional help
Your recovery time from a sprain or a strain will depend how serious the injury is. Get medical help straight away if your joint looks different than usual, is difficult or impossible to move, or you feel numbness or tingling.
Find more information on treating sprains and strains.