How to treat swelling from an injury

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Swelling happens as a result of an injury, pregnancy and other health conditions. If not treated properly, swelling becomes frustrating and cause severe pain. Walking and spraining an ankle or lifting a heavy bag and injuring the arm are injuries that can result to swelling at the site of the trauma.

Inflammation is the response of the body to the injury and has a protective value, but if swelling becomes severe, it can result to further damage and worsen the condition.


Apply a cold compress on the affected site for at least 10 minutes on the first 72 hours immediately after the injury to reduce the swelling.
  • Apply a cold compress on the affected site for at least 10 minutes on the first 72 hours immediately after the injury to reduce the swelling. Repeat the application every 3-4 hours. The cold temperature numbs the nerves and lessens the inflammation and swelling.
  • Elevate the affected area such as the finger, hand, ankle or leg above the level of the heart for proper blood circulation and lessen the swelling. Elevation eliminates the waste products and promotes fast healing of the condition. If the hands and fingers are swollen, sit in a chair and raise the area on a couple of pillows. Put a couple of pillow under the affected leg to keep it elevated.
  • Compress the affected area to lessen the swelling. It makes the area stable and prevents buildup of fluid. Wrap the area using an Ace wrap or an elastic bandage to provide even pressure around the affected area. Remove the bandage before sleeping at night. Avoid wrapping the bandage too tightly to prevent any disruption in the blood circulation.
  • Take plenty of rest on the first 24-72 hours. If the foot or ankle is injured, use crutches to lessen the pressure placed on the affected area.
  • Mix 2 tablespoon of Epsom salt in a small tube filled with warm water, mix until salt is totally dissolved. Soak the affected area such as foot or hand for at least 10-15 minutes at 3 times in a week. Mix ½ cup of Epsom salt in the bathtub filled with warm water and soak the affected large areas of the body such as shoulder or legs for at least 15 minutes at 2 times every week.
  • Mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and water. Warm up the solution in a microwave. Immerse the towel and place it on the affected area for at least 5-10 minutes at 2 times every day. Apple cider vinegar lessens the swelling, pain and inflammation.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on swelling from injuries is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage injuries involving swelling by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.

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