You get a sprain when a ligament (a tough elastic like strand of tissue that holds one bone to another) is torn either partially or completely. This injury, commonest on the ankle and knee joints is painful and causes the affected region to swell.
TO offer first aid to a victim whom you suspect has a sprain:
1. Ensure your safety first
2. Prevent further injury to the joint by immobilising the joint - use splints or crutches
3. Ensure that the injured part is rested, but do minor exercises as pain permits
4. If available, use a cold pack or ice wrapped in a cloth to limit swelling on the injured site
5. Find a bandage or an elastic wrap to compress the injured site
6. Make sure that the injured limb is kept elevated to a level above the heart to prevent or limit swelling
7. Use over the counter pain relievers to relieve pain
8. Gently begin using the affected limb after 2 days, if the pain isn't improving, see your doctor for further care
9. You need to seek medical help immediately if you are unable to bear weight on the affected limb or you feel the joint is unstable or the pain is just too much
Reference: What to do in an emergency: Sprains and strains. American College of Emergency Physicians Foundation. http://www. emergencycareforyou. org/EmergencyManual/WhatToDoInMedicalEmergency/Default. aspx? id=286&terms=sprains and and and strains. Accessed Oct. 17, 2009.