Don't Pamper Strained Joints
Gentle exercise prevents reinjury
People who sprain an ankle may think they're giving the joint a chance to heal by favoring it, but babying a seriously injured joint might actually increase the chances of a recurrent injury.
The "R.I.C.E." method -- rest, ice, compression, and elevation -- is still the best choice for initial treatment. But serious strains need more help after the first swelling goes down and healing begins.
Dr. Michael Bowman, a Pittsburgh orthopedist who also helps treat the Pittsburgh Steelers football team, recommends a brace to protect the recovering joint, range of motion exercises to prevent stiffness, and muscle strengthening and balance exercises to prevent reinjury.
A wire service story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has tips to help sprains heal properly and describes simple exercises that can be done at home.
A previous HealthScout story also warns that commonly used pain pills won't help with the stiffness and swelling from strains and many other overuse injuries.