CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE
PATIENT CARE SERVICES
Browse by Letter
Search for Diseasesand Conditions
RESEARCH AT BWH
FOR BWH RESEARCHERS
Sprain? Strain? The terms for these injuries sound so similar, what's the difference? Find out by taking this quiz, based on information from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
You should follow the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) treatment for the first 1 to 2 days after the injury:
Your health care provider may recommend a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen to help reduce pain and swelling. A moderate to severe sprain or strain may need a cast or brace to hold the joint still while it heals. A severe sprain or strain may need surgery to fix the tear. How long it takes a sprain or strain to heal depends on how the severe the injury is. A moderate ankle sprain might need up to 6 weeks to heal. A severe sprain might take 6 months to a year.