A sprain is the wrenching of a joint, producing a stretching or laceration of the ligament. A ligament holds one bone in association with another and is made of flexible, tough, dense, white, fibrous connective tissue.

The most common sprains occur in the ankle, fingers and toes. A mild sprain may require rest for a few days but a serious tear may require an operative procedure. Ligaments are strongly connected to the bones that they attach and a tear may actually cause a splinter or a chunk of bone to be fractured as well.

It is difficult to differentiate clinically between a sprain and a muscular strain. Both are painful although ligament damage is often more so. Swelling and limitation of movement will occur in both injuries but the latter is generally more painful than a ligament injury. The term ‘more painful’ is rather subjective and only experience might help us differentiate here.

A sprain is liable to become recurrent if not healed properly. The recurrence may be associated with a weakness in the underlying energy or meridian line and this needs to be looked at. The mind-body connection should also be considered.


Immediately apply ice to the area and restrict movement using a splint or bandage if this is felt necessary.

Administer the homeopathic remedy Arnica 6 every lOmin for Ihr and then use Arnica 30 alternating with Ruta 30 every 4hr for one week. If available, drink the fluid extract of Ruta in divided gulps throughout the day. 1 Rest is essential. There is no set time but diminished movement until the area has stopped hurting is necessary. I recommend at least one week of rest for any sprain that immobilizes the joint for longer than 24hr. < Consult an osteopath, who may recommend X-rays to establish that there is no fracture. > Acupuncture will help healing. ‘ Any tendency for the injury to recur or pain still present after a week should be reviewed by an orthopaedic surgeon who may recommend splinting the joint or putting it into plaster.

Avoid painkillers, except at night, because an absence of pain will encourage movement.