Sports Medicine - Treatment Options

Your health care provider may recommend that you treat the injury with RICE: rest, ice (wrapped in a cloth or a towel -- do not apply ice directly to the skin), compression, and elevation of the affected area. Apply RICE as needed over the first several days following the injury.

Ice reduces pain, bleeding, and inflammation. It may also reduce secondary damage to other parts of the joint. Some evidence suggests that applying ice and using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs improves healing and speeds recovery. Bleeding and inflammation may play an important role in the healing process. For more severe cases, wrap the affected area in an elastic bandage. A cast may be required to stabilize injuries.

You should limit activity that involves the affected area for an average of 7 days. You may also be referred to a physical therapist, who will tailor exercises to help you strengthen muscles, joints, and ligaments.

Over-the-counter pain relievers (analgesics) and anti-inflammatory agents usually help. However, you should talk to your doctor for adequate dosing. When injuries are more severe or chronic, continued use of analgesics may lead to aggravation of the condition. Analgesics should not be used to mask pain so that you can resume activity without immobilizing the injured area.  Follow your physician’s directions for analgesics or follow the medication directions.