Natural remedies for sprained joints and ligament tears of the ankle, wrist, foot, knee and shoulder

    natural sprain remedies for treating sprained joints & ligament tears

    Select a Topic

    1. What are Sprains?
    2. Diagnosing Sprains
    3. Help for Sprains
    4. More Information on Sprains

    What are Sprains?

    A ligament is a thick, tough, fibrous tissue that connects bones together and when a ligament becomes injured, it results in a sprain. The three areas of the body most prone to common sprains are: the ankle, the knee, and the wrist.

    Ligaments allow us to move various parts of our body and keep our skeleton in alignment. Ligaments stretch daily (kind of like elastic bands) yet, when we fall, or make a movements that over-stretch the ligament, they can become torn – resulting in a painful sprain.

    A strain, on the other hand, is an injury to a muscle or tendon.

    The most common sprain is the ‘twisted ankle’ – (understandably so, as we spend most of our lives upright, with all of our body weight on our feet and ankles!). Activities such as running, hiking, and basketball can also lead to a sprained ankle.

    Most commonly the foot is rolled to the inside, stretching the ligaments too far on the outside (called the talofibular and calcaenofibular ligaments). Other sports such as gymnastics and volleyball call also lead to sprains. Sprains are not limited to the ankles and may affect a finger, the wrist, the knee, back, neck, groin and hamstring (thigh).

    Sprains are categorized depending on the severity of the injury. Grade I and Grade II ankle sprains can usually be treated relatively easily with ice and physical therapy. Grade III ankle sprains can lead to a weakened ankle, and an operation may be a necessary part of treatment.

    Treatment of a sprain is often includes the "RICE" method:

    R ICE
    The first two days after a sprain are important – rest is imperative to allow the ligaments to heal. Try using a splint, sling, or crutches to help take the pressure off the injured body part.

    I CE
    For the first 2 days after your injury, ice the sprain for 20 minutes at a time every 3-4 hours. The ice pack can be a bag of frozen vegetables (peas or corn) or fill paper cups with water then freeze the cup. Do NOT ice a sprain for more than 20 minutes at a time – you will not be helping heal the injury any faster, and you can cause damage to the tissues!

    Use compression when elevating a sprain in early treatment. Use a stretch-bandage with grip, but a lot of ‘give’, and wrap the area overlapping the elastic wrap by one-half of the width of the wrap. The wrap should be snug, but not cutting off circulation to the extremity. So, if your fingers or toes become cold, blue, or tingle, re-wrap!

    Keep your sprain off the floor and try to get it higher than your heart if possible. Elevate at night by placing pillows under your arm or leg.

    Diagnosing Sprains

    If you suffer with a sprain you may typically experience pain, swelling and bruising of the affected joint. Usually all that is required is adequate rest (see the RICE method below). You may require further medical attention if:

    • You have severe pain and cannot put any weight on the injured joint.
    • The area over the injured joint or next to it is very tender when you touch it.
    • The injured area looks crooked or has lumps and bumps (other than swelling) that you do not see on the uninjured joint.
    • You cannot move the injured joint.
    • You cannot walk more than four steps without significant pain.
    • Your limb buckles or gives way when you try to use the joint.
    • You have numbness in any part of the injured area.
    • You see redness or red streaks spreading out from the injury.
    • You injure an area that has been injured several times before.
    • You have pain, swelling, or redness over a bony part of your foot.
    • You are in doubt about the seriousness of the injury or how to care for it.

    Help for Sprains

    Many herbal and homeopathic remedies have been formulated with specific ingredients to heal from the inside out – helping to facilitate strengthening of injured ligaments. Arnica is a highly respected ingredient in homeopathic medicine and has powerful anti-inflammatory and tissue healing properties.

    Filipendula almaria is another herb that has been used for centuries by herbalists to treat pain with modern research citing this herb as nature’s aspirin! Homeopathic ingredients such as Magnesium phosphoricum and Symphytum officinale can also greatly assist the body in *recovering from sports injuries * and sprains – with no harsh side effects.

    More Information on Sprains

    While not all sprains can be prevented, here are some helpful tips to lessen the chances:


    • Stretch before you workout
    • Wear proper footwear for the activity (that support your ankles, knees, or wrists)
    • Warm up properly before activities
    • Exercise regularly to strengthen your ligaments, tendons and muscles
    • Keep ankles strong and flexible by increasing the strength in the front of the lower leg and stretching the muscles in the back of the calf. A tight calf muscle positions the foot in a relative downward position, which makes the ankle less stable.
    • Try to avoid fatigue as it increases the likelihood of injury. Overtired muscles are more susceptible to sprains.

    Do not:

    • Put weight or pressure on your sprain.
    • Give massage to affected area – remember it needs to rest and heal
    • Run walk or stand
    • Walk or run on uneven surfaces

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