Sprains can ruin a perfectly normal day especially when you least expect it. And, though they may not appear to be something very dangerous, it is a fact, that they can really be painful and handicap your movements for a while.
A sprain is actually an injury to a ligament (strong elastic like bands that hold bones and joints in place). People complain of knee and ankle sprains more often than other kinds of sprains. A sprain can result in pain and swelling which can be unbearable if the ligament tear is severe. Some sprains are mild and you can still walk. The severe kinds of sprains cause the area to be swollen and discolored due to bleeding. Putting weight on the sprained area or walking can become impossible if the injury is a dislocation or a fracture.
The best way to immediately treat a sprain is to avoid using the joint where the sprain has taken place. This can be done by using crutches or splints. It is always better if the injured area can be given a cold pack (like ice or cold water). This is done to ward of swelling. Bandage the area to avoid movement and finally put up the injured limb to reduce or avoid extra swelling. Over the counter medicines for pains are also helpful. If not all the mentioned measures work and you have fever, pain and cannot work then, consult a doctor who will take an x-ray to confirm whether it is a fracture or a bone injury. A MRI is also a probable means of diagnosis. Sometimes, even fatigue or inaccurate warm-up before exercise could cause you a sprain as the muscles are over stretched carelessly or are not loosened.
Prevention is always better than a cure so, do some regular stretching exercises to be fit and free from sprains and strains. And, if you are the type who always lands up with a sprain then try to protect vulnerable areas by wrapping or taping them. Take care!