These, too, may be treated with either heat or cold. Perhaps the best way, before swelling has commenced, is to immerse the injured member in very cold running water, or let cold water drain on it from an elevated vessel. The joint itself, should be elevated, too, if possible. Keep this up as long as you can stand it. Then dissolve tablets of lead acetate and opium (directions on bottle) in water, soak a cloth in it, bind round the joint, and keep the cloth wet with the lotion.
If no treatment can be applied until the joint has already become swollen and painful, then immerse it in water as hot as can be borne, and raise the heat gradually thereafter to the limit of endurance (much hotter than you could stand at first). When the pain lulls, change to an application of cloth wrung out in very cold water, and keep pouring cold water on as this warms up. A little later, strap the joint with adhesive plaster.
According to Gibney, the following treatment for a sprained ankle "involves no loss of time, requires no crutches, and is not attended with any impairment of functions":
A number of strips of rubber adhesive plaster, about 9 to 12 inches in length and of appropriate width, are prepared. Beginning at the outer border of the foot, near the little toe, the first strip partially encircles the joint, and ends behind the foot. The second strip is begun on the inner side of the foot and is applied on the opposite side, nearly meeting the first strip behind. Other strips are applied in like manner, each one over-lapping the last and crossing its fellow of the opposite side in front, so that the ankle is snugly and smoothly encased, care being taken not to encircle completely the joint with any one strip. After having bound the foot firmly, it is well to add one broad strip, running around the foot from the internal side of the leg down the internal side of the foot, across the sole of the foot, and up the outside of the leg, "as much as possible to take the place of the middle fasciculus of the external lateral ligament, which is so often the one most injured." It is a good plan to place a pad of absorbent cotton over the external malleolus [outer knob of ankle] and in the depression below, to prevent undue pressure and chafing. Anv one of the injured ligaments may receive a similar reinforcement from an extra strip. Then apply a roller bandage smoothly over the entire surface, allowing it to remain until the plaster takes firm hold.
The pain of a sprained joint may be alleviated by gently rubbing in a mixture of equal parts of alcohol and water, or arnica, or witch hazel. Rubbing should always be toward the body.