top of page
Ankle Sprain

January 29, 2024 Staff

Ankle sprains are common injuries that occur when the ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits and tear. Ligaments are tough, elastic bands of tissue that connect bones to each other and stabilize the joints, helping to prevent excessive movement. Ankle sprains can range from mild (slight stretching and microscopic tearing of the ligament fibers) to severe (complete tear of the ligament fibers).


Ankle sprains typically occur when the foot is twisted or turned in an awkward manner. This can happen during physical activities that involve quick changes in direction, jumping, or rolling of the foot. Ankle sprains can also occur from walking or running on uneven surfaces, or during a fall where the ankle is twisted.


The symptoms of an ankle sprain can vary depending on the severity of the injury but commonly include:

  • Pain, especially when bearing weight on the affected foot.

  • Swelling and bruising around the ankle.

  • Restricted range of motion.

  • Instability in the ankle (in more severe sprains).


The diagnosis of an ankle sprain is usually made based on a physical examination and the patient's description of the injury. In some cases, imaging tests like X-rays, MRI, or ultrasound may be needed to rule out other injuries, such as fractures or to assess the extent of the ligament damage.


The treatment for an ankle sprain depends on the severity of the injury. The general approach for managing ankle sprains involves the R.I.C.E. method, especially in the initial phase:

  • Rest: Avoid activities that cause pain, swelling, or discomfort.

  • Ice: Use an ice pack on the injured area for 15-20 minutes, several times a day. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.

  • Compression: Use an elastic compression bandage around the ankle to keep swelling down.

  • Elevation: Elevate the ankle above the level of the heart as often as possible to reduce swelling.

Additional treatments may include:

  • Pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce pain and swelling.

  • Physical therapy to restore range of motion, strength, and stability.

  • In cases of severe sprains, a brace or a boot may be needed to immobilize the ankle as it heals.

  • Surgery is rarely needed for ankle sprains but may be considered for injuries that fail to respond to non-surgical treatment or for individuals with ongoing instability.


Preventive measures for ankle sprains include:

  • Wearing shoes that fit well and are appropriate for the activity.

  • Avoiding running or walking on uneven surfaces.

  • Strengthening exercises for the muscles around the ankle to help stabilize and protect the joint.

  • Stretching exercises to maintain flexibility in the muscles and ligaments around the ankle.


Recovery time from an ankle sprain can vary widely depending on the severity of the injury. Mild sprains may heal within a few weeks, while more severe sprains may take several months to fully recover. Following the recommended treatment plan and gradually returning to activities as the ankle heals can help ensure a full recovery.

bottom of page