A sprain is when the ligaments which hold joints together become overstretched or rupture. The most vulnerable joints are ankles, wrist, knees, and fingers.

Why Me?

Some people are predisposed to sprains. Oddly enough, these folk are usually flexible… in fact, too flexible, with comparatively loose ligaments.

What To Do


  • If you have a tendency to sprains, eat foods containing calcium and silicon to strengthen the ligaments. Calcium-containing foods include tahini, cheese, almonds and brazil nuts. Silicon-containing foods include oats and all whole grains.
  • Fresh pineapple juice contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that will decrease the swelling. Kiwifruit and pawpaw also contain a similar enzyme.

Herbs and Supplements

  • Arnica, that wonderful homoeopathic remedy, is superb for strains and sprains. Take a few drops under the tongue every half-hour for the first two hours after the incident; then once or twice daily for the next week. The arnica will bring down the swelling and reduce bruising considerably. Arnica ointment is also good, but only on unbroken skin. If there are any abrasions, comfrey cream is preferable.
  • A cold compress of apple cider vinegar will reduce the swelling.
  • Rescue Remedy will help with the emotional shock, for you and any onlookers.
  • Quercetin is a natural anti-inflammatory. Take one tablet every two hours, together with 1 g of vitamin C which is also anti-inflammatory
  • Drink herbal tisanes including rosehips, hibiscus and elder that are rich in bioflavonoids to help reduce bruising.
  • To reduce swelling take one tablet of pancreatic enzymes three times a day, between meals. If you take pancreatic enzymes with meals, they will act on the meal, not on the swelling.
  • The tissue salts Calc. fluor. and Silicea are ideal for strengthening and consolidating connective tissue including the ligaments.
  • The homoeopathic remedy Ledum will help if your bruise turns yellow!

Other Steps

  • As any first-aider will tell you, the first thing to do is RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. With as little movement as possible (rest), crawl to the freezer and get some ice or a packet of frozen peas (ice) and gently place on the affected part. Wrap the lot in a towel or bandage (compression). Ice the area for 30 minutes, after ten minutes’ rest, reapply the cold compress. To reduce further swelling elevate the affected part by resting it on a chair (elevation). This will increase lymphatic drainage from the area. RICE the area for the first 2-3 hours after the injury. The next day apply cold packs 4-5 times, the day after 2-3 times. After three days, apply hot compresses including ginger compress. See Period, Painful.
  • If the sprained joint is your ankle, see a good podiatrist, physiotherapist, osteopath or sports medicine doctor to check the mechanics of your foot.
  • A good strengthening exercise for the muscles around the ankle is to stand on one foot for two minutes, then the other. The little adjusting movements used in balancing strengthen small muscles not often worked.
  • Acupuncture helps to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

At a glance

Good food
Pineapple juice, kiwifruit, pawpaw, silicon foods, calcium foods.
Food to avoid
Remedies to begin
Quercetin, arnica, Rescue Remedy, vitamin C.
Strengthening exercises. RICE.
Figuratively and literally watch where you step. Take time to consolidate your position before moving on, or choosing your next direction.