The University of Nottingham Health Service
NHS logo 

Sport injuryAcute sport injury

Sprains

The initial pain and discomfort may last up to a week.

Thereafter some weakness and pain may persist for up to 6 weeks.

How to help yourself

Treat with a cold compress containing ice if possible (a bag of frozen peas is one option, but never put ice directly on the skin as it can cause an ice burn). Use for 15 minutes. This can be repeated 3-4 times in the first 24 hours.

Following this compress the sprain with a firm crepe bandage or elastic bandage. Then elevate the limb.

Take paracetamol regularly. Ibuprofen regularly also helps and is safe to take with paracetamol.

Symptoms

  • Pain and swelling initially
  • 24-48 hours later bruising may appear

Available medicine

  • Tubigrip/elastic bandages

Contact the practice

  • If the pain isn’t controlled by simple painkillers
  • You are unable to bear any weight through the affected limb
  • If the symptoms aren’t resolving after 1 week