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The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: Muscles & Bones

Sprains, strains, and fractured bones. Here's what to do in the case of a distressed limb.

Sprains and strains Remember RICE: First, rest. Ice the site to reduce swelling (use snow or cold water). After 20 to 30 minutes, remove the cold and let the injured area warm naturally for 10 to 15 minutes before use. Compress the injury with elastic wrap or athletic tape (the basket-weave pattern, left, works well for ankle sprains).

Apply it snugly, but not tight enough to cut off circulation, and wrap it toward the heart (for example, up the leg, not down). Elevate the injury by keeping it higher than the heart. Repeat three to four times a day until pain and swelling subside.

PHOTO SLIDESHOW: How to Treat a Sprained Ankle
Add support and reduce swelling in 5 easy steps.

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