What is an Ankle Sprain?Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain is an injury involving the ligaments that support your ankle.  These ankle ligaments connect bone to bone and provide stability to your ankle joint.  When injured, these ligaments can be strained or torn.

Causes

Injuries are the most common cause of ankle sprains.  Athletes are particularly vulnerable to ankle sprains.  Tripping on uneven ground or stepping in a hole are other common causes of ankle sprains.  The ankle typically rolls inward (inverts) during the injury.

Symptoms

The exact symptoms will depend on the severity of your ankle sprain.  Most people will experience some degree of pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty walking on the affected foot.

Treatments for Ankle Sprains

When you twist your ankle, remember the acronym PRICE.

    • Protect — Wear an ankle brace
    • Rest — Stay off your injured ankle
    • Ice — Apply ice 10-15 minutes three times a day
    • Compress — Apply an elastic bandage (ACE wrap)
    • Elevate — Try to elevate your injured ankle above your heart

Read our blog for more details on the PRICE treatment.

If you still experience increasing pain, swelling, bruising, or difficulty walking, you may have a severe ankle sprain that should be properly evaluated.  After a thorough examination, your podiatrist will discuss the best treatment plan with you.  X-rays will often be taken to rule out a fracture.  An ankle brace, walking boot, or crutches may be necessary.  Most ankle sprains respond well to conservative treatments without the need of surgery.  The exact treatment and recovery time will depend on the severity of your injury.