Pharmacy First | Sprains and Strains | Pharmacy or GP?

Pharmacy First – Sprains and Strains

This article has been written and medically approved by Pharmacist Conor McSorley GPhC Reg No. 2223070

What Should I Do for Sprains and Strains?

When abnormal or excessive forces are applied to a joint, without dislocation or fracture then an injury to the ligament may occur, known as a sprain. The stretching and tearing of muscle fibres are muscle strains. Most strains happen when the muscle has been stretched beyond its limits or has been forced to contract too strongly.

If you are suffering from a sprain or strain then it is advised to manage the injury using PRICE:

  • Protection – protect your self from further injury by using a support or high-top, lace-up shoes.
  • Rest – Avoid any further activity for the first 48-72 hours following the injury and consider using crutches to help move.
  • Ice – Ice should be applied by wrapping it in a damp towel and applying for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours during the day for the first 48-72 hours following the injury. Do not leave on while asleep
  • Compression – Use a simple elastic bandage which should fit snug but not tight and should be removed before going to sleep.
  • Elevation – Avoid prolonged periods with the leg not elevated, and keep the leg elevated and supported using a pillow until the swelling is under control.

Why Visit the Pharmacy First?

By knowing when it is appropriate to visit your local pharmacy first, you can ensure that you are receiving the most appropriate level of care by a suitable healthcare professional at the right time. By choosing to visit the pharmacist first, you will get the clinical advice and support you need on the same day and only be signposted to your GP if needed.

A pharmacist will refer the following patients to their GP but if you fall under any of the below patient groups, it may still be worth contacting your pharmacist first to get help and advice quicker while you wait for your appointment.

  • Children under the age of 12
  • Moderate or severe sprain or strain
  • Bruising and/or swelling
  • Arthritis

All information is correct at the time of writing.