If you have ever sprained your ankle or sprained your knee, you know how painful it is. A sprain is an injury to the ligaments. It is caused by stretching the ligament further than it would normally stretch. Some sprains require medical treatment because the stretching of the ligaments can cause the ligament to tear. If you have excessive pain and swelling see your doctor. If you have a mild sprain, you can treat it at home.

Rest. Whichever part of your body has been injured needs rest and very limited movement. For ankle sprains and knee sprains, keep your body weight off of the injured part as much as possible.

Apply ice to the injury. Place an ice pack on the injury part of your body for 20 to 30 minutes, remove the ice pack for 30 minutes and repeat. When using an ice pack for sprain treatment, be sure to place a thin towel over any exposed skin before applying ice. The ice can freeze your skin and cause more damage. For an ankle sprain injury, fill a bucket with cold water and ice and soak your sprained ankle for 20 to 30 minutes, remove your ankle from the bucket for 30 minutes and repeat.

Wrap the sprain injury with a bandage. A compression bandage will help to minimize swelling. Do not wrap the area too tightly because you will cut off the blood flow which can result in more serious complications. If you have a back sprain of other large area sprain do not wrap. Compression bandages are available at pharmacies.

Elevate the injured area above your heart. If you have a sprained ankle or a sprained knee, lay flat with the sprain area propped up on pillows. Elevation will slow the flow of blood to the injury and reduce and throbbing pain you may be experiencing.

Take an over the counter pain reliever such as Tylenol or Advil to ease the pain.

Repeat these steps for the first 48 hours after the injury occurs.

Seek medical attention if your symptoms do not improve or if the pain and swelling worsen or are severe.