A joint injury occurs when ligaments, the bands of tissue that hold bones together, are stretched or torn. In simple words, a joint injury is damage to a joint (articulation of two or more bones). Typical joint injuries occur in the knees, ankles, wrists, shoulders and elbows. These joints can swell and suffer from inflammation and redness, making them immobile and limiting their range of motion. Joint injuries can occur on a sports field, accidents at home or at office. Therefore it is essential for people to understand what exactly should be done if a friend or a colleague suddenly has a joint injury. For instance, if they twist their knee or ankle and fall on the shoulder. In these situations the knowledge and application of the acronym “PRICES” is useful. Here P stands for protect, R for rest, I for ice and C for compression, E for elevation and S for support.
The first step is to protect the injured part. You could just put a simple splint. A splint is a thin piece of wood or other rigid material used to immobilize a fractured or dislocated bone, or to maintain any part of the body in a fixed position.
Next comes R for rest. Rest in this situation means that the person should avoid standing or walk or putting weight on the injured part. The purpose of resting is to allow the body’s own healing processes to naturally occur without being impeded by movement of the injured area.
The third component is ice and one thing you need to note here is that you should never really apply ice directly on the skin. You can take the ice in a towel or polythene bag and apply it slowly and gently. Continue to do this for 15 minutes every 3 hours.
Next comes compression. When the ice pack is removed, a compression wrap should be applied to the injured area for this one should always have a crepe bandage handy at the office, home as well as sports medical kit. When you see someone with a twisted ankle, knee, an injured wrist or shoulder, immediately apply crepe bandage and make it reasonably tight.
Next up is E for elevation where you elevate the injured part. For example, when you sit on a sofa, or on a chair, you put your foot on a stool in front of you and that elevates your ankle injury or knee injury. In the case of shoulder, elbow or wrist injuries the aim is to maintain elevation as well as protect the injury. For this, you could put the injured part in an arm pouch or bag.
Lastly, S for support. You basically need a walking stick or crutches whenever you have a lower limb injury.
Once you are done with the mentioned steps of “PRICES”, next step is to see an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in joint injuries and sports injuries.
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