Acute Sprains and Strains: Management

Man holding knee

Managing muscular sprains and strains

Fortunately, sprains and strains typically respond well to treatment.

Patients with sprains and/or strains should start to feel better after 2 weeks without any intervention.1

Below we review the different approaches that could help your patient get back to enjoying their life in the case of acute, mild-moderate sprain/strain injuries.

NICE guideline recommendation for treating sprains and strains

Summary of guidance on treating strains and sprains

Sprains and strains can be managed simply in the first 48- 72 hours following the injury2

According to guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, patients with sprains or strains should be advised to follow the PRICE protocol in the first few days after the injury.4

The HARM protocol identifies key factors that should be avoided for the first 72 hours post acute injury.5

Read more about these approaches below.

Product - gel

Analgesics can be used to relieve pain from acute sprains and strains3

Acetaminophen, topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) medications or oral NSAIDs can be used to help manage acute sprains and strains.3*

*These products should not be used together.

Utilizing physical therapy to improve outcomes

Massage and exercise

After the first 72 hours, physiotherapeutic interventions can be beneficial for soft-tissue injuries8

Treatment and rehabilitation plans must be individually tailored to maintain and improve range of motion, reduce pain and inflammation, and improve functional activities.8

For example, massage therapy can reduce muscle soreness – although this should not be used in the first 72 hours after the injury.5

Appropriate strengthening programs using tailored exercises are often required in the longer term to maximize recovery, and training regimens may need to be adjusted.8

How can Terry be helped?

Terry and his son


Terry has sprained his ankle from playing tennis, and is struggling to work and take care of his children.

Terry wants effective pain relief.

Voltaren is absorbed through the skin to provide relief from pain and inflammation after soft-tissue injuries, so Terry can get back to doing the activities he enjoys.9


Understanding acute sprains and strains

Causes icon


Find out about the causes of acute sprains and strains.


Signs and symptoms icons

Signs and symptoms

Explore an overview of how to recognise acute sprains and strains and know when to refer patients.


Back pain icon

Overview of acute back pain

Learn more about acute back pain and meet a patient experiencing it.


Learn more

Voltaren products

Voltaren products

Help your patients manage their acute pain with our pain-relieving products.


How diclofenac reduces inflammation

Diclofenac: Mechanism of Action

Access information to better understand how Diclofenac works


Business women with back pain

Acute Back Pain

Learn more about acute back pain and how it can be relieved.