Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Summer Safety Week-Hiking Hazards: First Aid For Sprains

The great outdoors-a winding trail stretching deep into the forest, offering hikers a glimpse of nature in its prime. The solitude is broken by the call of a distant bird flying high overhead. You turn to look up and are momentarily blinded by the sun. You stumble and catch your foot on a root. Down you tumble with a sharp pain erupting in your ankle.
Joint injuries are a common occurrence for outdoor enthusiasts. Even with precautions, an injury can result in fractures, dislocations or sprains. St. John Ambulance, Canada's leader in safety-oriented™ first aid training and products, advises that first aid knowledge can reduce suffering and the risk of further injury.
Bones at a joint are held together with tough bands called ligaments. When ligaments stretch and tear, it's called a sprain. A first-degree sprain is least severe, with the ligament merely stretched. A second-degree sprain involves some tearing of the ligament while a third degree sprain is when the ligament is completely torn.
Most sprains benefit from Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation-RICE.
Rest: Stop the activity and do not use the injured joint.
Ice: Apply cold to the injured area, but not directly to the skin.
Compression: Use a bandage to compress the injury to limit swelling.
Elevation: Raise the injured joint to relieve pressure and promote blood flow.
Knowing what to do in an emergency can help reduce suffering and prevent further injury. St. John Ambulance has been helping Canadians learn essential lifesaving first aid skills for more than a century. With custom, modular programs and state-of-the-art training techniques, St. John Ambulance is Canada's leader in training. For more information on courses in your area, contact the branch nearest you or check us out on the web at