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An ankle sprain occurs if there is injury to one or more of the ligaments in your ankle. Ligaments are thick bands of tissue that connect bones to one another. They are an important part of maintaining stability for your ankle. Ankle sprains can vary in severity—the ligament can be stretched, partially torn, or completely torn.
What causes an ankle sprain?
Ankle sprains are often caused by a twist in the ankle or a sudden fall, but they can also be caused by a direct blow to the ankle. Ankle sprains are most common in sports or individuals who wear improper shoes or run on uneven surfaces.
What are the symptoms of ankle sprains?
Symptoms of an ankle sprain include swelling, bruising, soreness, pain, stiffness, and trouble walking.
The pain and swelling often subside, leading many patients to believe they do not need medical attention. However, you should always see your doctor for an ankle sprain so rehabilitation can start early. An untreated sprain can lead to chronic ankle instability. It is also possible that a more severe injury occurred along with the ankle sprain without your knowledge. Your doctor might perform an x-ray to see how severe the sprain is.
How are ankle sprains treated?
Rest and icing may be used to reduce pain and swelling. Compression and elevation are other methods of controlling swelling. Your doctor might suggest physical therapy to improve range of motion and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain.
In some cases, surgery is needed for severe sprains. This involves repairing or rebuilding the damaged ligaments. Minimally invasive approaches are often used to perform this surgery, which allows for less pain and recovery time.
It is most important to follow your doctor’s instructions when it comes to returning to physical activities and sports so you can minimize your chances of injuring your ankle again.