Telling the difference between a ligament or tendon injury on your own can be hard. Whenever you have pain and swelling, see your doctor for a skilled diagnosis and effective treatment plan. In the meantime, however, whether it’s a strain or a sprain, immediate treatment is generally the same. Doctors recommend: Rest. Try to keep your injured body part immobilized until healing is well underway. This may be easier with the use of immobilization braces and crutches, if needed. Ice. Wrap ice in a towel to protect the skin and then ice the injured area for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day, while you recover. Compression. Reduce swelling by wearing a compression bandage. Wrap the bandage so it’s snug but not uncomfortably tight. Elevation. Keeping your injured body part higher than your heart can help reduce swelling and promote healing. Medication. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and pain relievers, taken as needed, may help reduce your pain and swelling.

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