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Student Health Services

Sprains and Strains

To help sprains and strains heal faster, follow these instructions:

  1. Elevate the injured area above your heart whenever possible.
  2. Use ice packs for the first 48 hours, but never apply the ice directly to the skin. Place a wash cloth over the injured area and apply the ice 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.
  3. After the first 48 hours, apply heat to control pain.
  4. If you have an Ace bandage, you may need to rewrap it if it becomes too tight or too loose. Unwrap the bandage if the area below it becomes cold, blue, swollen or numb.
  5. Unwrap the bandage at bedtime.
  6. If your clinician has prescribed an anti-inflammatory medicine or pain medicine (example: Motrin, or Tylenol 3), use it as directed.
  7. If you have a foot or ankle injury, try not to put weight on it for two days. Returnable crutches or canes may be checked out from the Health Center as needed.
  8. For a foot injury, elevate the foot for the first two nights while sleeping to decrease swelling. If the foot is taped, do not remove the tape at night as you would a bandage. Remove the tape only if the area below the tape becomes blue, white, swollen, cold or numb. To take a shower, cover your foot with a small towel and a plastic bag secured with tape.