Hand Surgeon Questions Sprains and Strains

If I sprain my hand, should I put a hot compress or a cold compress?

I recently sprained my hand while picking up a heavy object. I have applied some ointment that should be working on pain relief. I want to also put a compress as it provides relief in sprains. I am confused if I should hot compress or a cold compress.

3 Answers

Just do what feels comfortable. Sometimes inflammation feels better with cold, so ice is better and other times, the tissues feel better with heat. Good news about orthopaedics is, if it feels good, do it and if it doesn’t, stop.
I would recommend getting a splint to immobilize the hand instead of compresses or ointments. A splint for 3 weeks will allow it to heal without additional trauma.
After injuries I recommend ice for the first 48 hours, and then heat after that.