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A sprain is the acute or chronic abnormal stretching, partial tearing, or complete tearing of the supporting ligaments which surround a joint. It can involve damage to a muscle or tendon attachment. A sprain is commonly, but incorrectly, used to describe any pain in the joint.

A sprained ankle is the most common joint disorder. Sprains of the knees are the second most common sprains. Fingers are also commonly affected by this condition. The severity of the sprain depends on how badly the ligament was torn.

Sprains may give rise to disabling pain in the back. This is often caused by lifting excessively heavy objects or lifting heavy objects improperly. Back sprains are also commonly caused by auto accidents.

Sprains take variable amounts of time to heal, usually several weeks. The following procedure is recommended for immediate treatment of sprain: apply an ice pack for four to six hours so that blood vessels constrict; then apply heat to reopen the blood vessels. To prevent swelling, keep the injured limb elevated; support and rest the limb. In some cases, analgesics and/or a cast will be needed.


Primary Factors

The primary cause of a sprain is excessive demands on a joint as a result of twisting or stretching the joint beyond its normal range of movement, with subsequent physical stress of the ligaments. In serious strains, all nearby tissues are injured.

Predisposing Factors

Sports injuries and "twisting an ankle."

Signs & Symptoms

Blackish-blue skin discoloration
Misshapen joint
Possible loss of mobility; if this occurs, it usually takes a few hours before its onset

Acute sprains

Sharp, transient painRapid swelling
Hearing a snapping soundTender muscles

Chronic sprains (appears several hours after the injury)

StiffnessGeneralized tenderness

Nutritional Supplements

Structure & Function: Joint Support

General Supplements

Bioflavonoids500 - 1,000 mg200 - 500 mg
Bromelain/ Papain5 - 20 mg5 - 10 mg
Magnesium400 - 600 mg200 - 300 mg
Manganese10 - 20 mg5 - 10 mg
Vitamin C1,000 - 3,000 mg1,000 - 3,000 mg

Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.

Dietary Considerations

No nutritional management is prescribed specifically for sprains. However, since a sprain is described as an injury or rupture of tendons or ligaments, a Protein Enriched Diet would be helpful in the promotion of collagenous tissue repair and growth.

Homeopathic Remedy

1. Arnica montana tinct. - 30C
2. Ruta graveolens tinct. - 30C
3. Rhus Toxicodendron - 30C

Treatment Schedule

Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.


X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency

Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.


Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.

Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.

Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.

Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.

Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.

Herbal Approaches


Horsetail or Shavegrass (Equisetum arvense)

Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.


Arnica is popular as a compress, tincture or ointment in both homeopathy and herbal usage. Arnica flower is approved by the German Commission E.

Horsetail provides silica for rebuilding the joint tissues.

Papaya (papain) and Pineapple (Bromelain) provide valuable digestive enzymes which help to minimize coagulation and speed healing. They may be taken internally, or applied as a compress.

Note that Bromelain but not papain is approved by the German Commission E.

Comfrey root is approved by the German Commission E and uniquely recommended for strained ligaments.

Comfrey herb, leaf and root are approved by the German Commission E and uniquely recommended for sprains.


Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Chamomile Essence,Lavender Essence.

Related Health Conditions




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