Ankle Sprain

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Know the basics

What is ankle sprain?

Ankle sprains are injuries resulting from stretching, or partly or completely tearing one or more ligaments holding the ankle joint together. Ligaments are bands of strong, flexible fibers connecting bones. Tendons connect muscles and bones.

How common is ankle sprain?

Ankle sprains are common, especially in sports such as basketball and soccer, or in people who often wear high hells.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of ankle sprain?

Signs and symtomps of ankle sprains include:

  • Popping or tearing at the time of injury;
  • Pain occurs during the injury and after, when walking or moving the ankle;
  • The skin around the ankle may be bruised.
  • With severe injuries, extreme pain makes weight bearingand moving the ankle hard;
  • Tinkling or numbness in the foot may mean nerve or blood vessel damage.

There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should you see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes ankle sprain?

Sprains occur when the joint is forced to bend more than normal, thus hurting ligaments. The most common type occurs when the foot turns in (cleed inversion), and full body weight comes down on the ankle. The foot can also turn too far out (called eversion).

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for ankle sprain?

There are many risk factors for ankle sprain, such as:

  • Having ankle sprains before;
  • Running or walking on uneven surfaces;
  • Unfitted shoes or sporting equipments;
  • Playing sports that requires frequent feet movements such as football or basketball.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor.

How is ankle sprain diagnosed?

The doctor will ask about the accident and examine the ankle by moving it to check ligaments and tendons.

For a minor sprain, no more tests are needed. For a severe sprain, the doctor may order x-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

How is ankle sprain treated?

Ankle sprains need to be treated as soon as the injury happens. Before getting treament in your local health service, you can:

  • Apply ice immediately, because swelling starts quickly. Don’t apply heat to the sprain in 72 hours after the injury happens or the swelling will get worse.
  • Use crutches to rest your feet.
  • Keep walking to a minimum.
  • Put on a compression wrap or splint on the ankle and keep it elevated above hip level.

Physical therapy can strengthen muscles, help recovery, and help prevent more injuries.

Over-the-counter antiimflamatory medications (ibuprofen) can be taken to decrease swelling and provide pain relief.

Severe sprains may need surgery and physical therapy.

Lifestyle Changes & Home Remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies help manage ankle sprain?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with ankle sprain:

  • Wear ankle bearing when playing sports if you often get sprains.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Take medicines and use crutches prescribed by your doctor.
  • Remember RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
  • Call your doctor if you cannot walk on your injured ankle, swelling hasn’t ;eft after 2 days or increases, or you notice popping, catching, or the ankle giving way.
  • Call your doctor if your foot is numb, tingling, or is a blue or dusky color, or your toes are cold (signs of cut-off circulation).
  • Call your doctor if you don’t see improvement in 7 to 10 days after the sprain.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: August 16, 2016 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019

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