Joint Sprain

ExitCare ImageA sprain is a tear or stretch in the ligaments that hold a joint together. Severe sprains may need as long as 3-6 weeks of immobilization and/or exercises to heal completely. Sprained joints should be rested and protected. If not, they can become unstable and prone to re-injury. Proper treatment can reduce your pain, shorten the period of disability, and reduce the risk of repeated injuries.


  • Rest and elevate the injured joint to reduce pain and swelling.

  • Apply ice packs to the injury for 20-30 minutes every 2-3 hours for the next 2-3 days.

  • Keep the injury wrapped in a compression bandage or splint as long as the joint is painful or as instructed by your caregiver.

  • Do not use the injured joint until it is completely healed to prevent re-injury and chronic instability. Follow the instructions of your caregiver.

  • Long-term sprain management may require exercises and/or treatment by a physical therapist. Taping or special braces may help stabilize the joint until it is completely better.


  • You develop increased pain or swelling of the joint.

  • You develop increasing redness and warmth of the joint.

  • You develop a fever.

  • It becomes stiff.

  • Your hand or foot gets cold or numb.