The accidental tearing or stretching of a tendon or ligament (tissues that connect bones at the joint) causes sprains. The signs and symptoms are pain, swelling, tenderness, and discoloration (black and blue). You may feel a pop or tear when a sprain occurs.
When treating sprains, you should follow the letters in RICE as defined below:
R – Rest injured area.
I – Ice for 24 to 48 hours.
C – Compression-wrap or splint to help stabilize. If possible, leave the boot on a sprained ankle unless circulation is compromised.
E – Elevate the affected area.
NOTE: Ice is preferred for a sprain but cold spring water may be more easily obtained in a survival situation.