Survival First Aid: Sprains


The accidental overstretching of a tendon or ligament causes sprains. The signs and symptoms are pain, swelling, tenderness, and discoloration (black and blue).

When treating sprains, you should follow the letters in RICE as defined below:

  • R–Rest injured area.
  • I–Ice for 24 to 48 hours.
  • C–Compression-wrap or splint to help stabilize. If possible, leave the boot on a sprained ankle unless circulation is compromised.
  • E–Elevate the affected area.
  • NOTE: Ice is preferred for a sprain but cold spring water may be more easily obtained in a survival situation.


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