Most minor injuries will heal on
their own, and home treatment is usually all that is needed to relieve your
symptoms and promote healing. But if you suspect that you may have a more severe
injury, use first aid measures while you arrange for an evaluation by your
First aid for a suspected broken bone
If a bone is sticking out of your skin, do not
try to push it back into your skin. It is better to leave the bone alone and
cover the area with a clean bandage.
to remove all anklets or rings immediately. It may be hard to remove the
jewelry after swelling occurs, which in turn can cause other serious problems,
such as nerve compression or restricted blood flow.
Splint your injured area without trying
to straighten your injured limb. Loosen the wrap around the splint if you
develop signs that mean the wrap is too tight, such as numbness, tingling,
increased pain, swelling, or cool skin below the wrap. A problem called
compartment syndrome can develop.
If a cast or splint is applied, be sure to keep it
dry, and try to move the uninjured part of your extremity as normally as
possible to help maintain muscle strength and tone. Your doctor will give you
instructions on how to
care for your cast or splint.
If you do not have
peripheral arterial disease, your sore or sprained toe
can be "buddy-taped" to your uninjured toe next to it. Protect
the skin by putting some soft padding, such as felt or foam, between your toes
before you tape them together. Your injured toe may need to be buddy-taped for
2 to 4 weeks to heal. If your injured toe hurts more after buddy-taping it,
remove the tape. Then check your symptoms again.
Home treatment for a minor foot or ankle injury
you have a minor injury, try home treatment measures to relieve pain, swelling,
Be sure to
remove all rings, anklets, or any other jewelry that goes around a leg or ankle. It
will be harder to remove the jewelry later if swelling
rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) to relieve pain and swelling.
Clean a skin wound as soon as possible to help prevent infection, scarring, and tattooing of the skin from dirt left in the wound. The bacteria Pseudomonas is a common cause of infections when a puncture wound occurs through the sole of an athletic shoe.
If you have pain from blood under a nail, you can drain it to relieve the pain.
Walk or bear weight on your affected foot as
long as it is not painful. If it is painful and the pain continues, check your symptoms again.
Gently massage or rub the area to relieve pain and encourage
blood flow. Do not massage the injured area if it causes pain.
the first 48 hours after your injury, avoid things that might increase swelling
in the injured area, such as hot showers, hot tubs, hot packs, or alcoholic
After 48 to 72 hours, if your swelling is gone, apply
heat and begin gentle exercise to help restore and
maintain flexibility. Some experts recommend alternating between heat and cold
treatments (contrast baths).
Start exercises using the
MSA process (gentle exercise). MSA stands for movement, strength, and alternate
Movement. Resume a
full range of motion as soon as possible after an injury. After 24 to 48 hours
of rest, begin moving the injured area. Stop any activity if it causes pain, and
give the injured area more rest. Gentle stretching will prevent scar tissue
formation that may decrease movement.
Strength. As soon as the swelling is gone and range of motion is
restored, begin gradual efforts to strengthen the injured area.
Alternate activities. After the first few
days but while the injury is still healing, phase in regular exercise using
activities or sports that do not place a strain on the injured area. If certain
activities cause pain, stop doing those activities but continue doing your