While not usually life-threatening, treating sprains appropriately can help prevent further injury and aid recovery. A sprain is when the ligaments connecting bones are stretched or torn. Mild sprains can be self-treated with the RICE method. Rest the injured area, ice it for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours for the first few days, compress it with an elastic bandage, and elevate it above the heart. If the pain is severe, the joint can’t bear weight, or injury to the bone is suspected, then it’s time to see a doctor.