know what to do if a there is a possibility a shipmate has
sustained a strain or a sprain.
A sprain is an injury to the ligaments and soft tissues
that support a joint. A sprain is caused by the violent
wrenching or twisting of the joint beyond its normal
limits of movement. Any joint may be sprained;
however, sprains of the ankle, wrist, knee, and finger are
SYMPTOMS.Symptoms of sprains include
pain or pressure at the joint, pain upon movement,
swelling and tenderness, possible loss of movement,
TREATMENT.Treat all sprains as fractures
until ruled out by X-rays. To treat a sprain, you should
take the following actions:
Application of cold packs for the first 24 to 48
Elevation and rest of the affected area.
Application of a snug, smooth, figure-eight
bandage to control swelling and to immobilize
(keep from moving) the affected area. (NOTE:
Check bandaged areas regularly for swelling that
might cause circulation problems and loosen
bandages if necessary.)
After the swelling stops (24 to 48 hours), apply
moist heat for short periods (15 to 30 minutes).
Do not apply heat until 24 hours after the last
After applying first aid, make sure the victim has a
follow-up examination by a medical officer. This exam
includes X-rays to rule out fractures.
A strain is an injury caused by the forcible over
stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon. A strain may
be caused by lifting excessively heavy loads, sudden or
violent movements, or any other action that pulls the
muscles beyond their normal limits.
SYMPTOMS.Symptoms of strains include
pain, lameness or stiffness, moderate swelling at the
place of the injury, discoloration caused by blood
escaping from injured blood vessels into the tissues,
possible loss of power, and a distinct gap felt at the site
of the injury.
TREATMENT.To treat a strain, you should take
the following actions:
Elevate the affected area.
Apply cold packs for 24 to 48 hours.
After the swelling stops, apply mild heat to
increase circulation and aid in healing.
Do not apply heat until 24 hours after the
last cold pack.
The victim should be evacuated to a medical facility
where X-rays can be taken to rule out the possibility of a