Ankle sprain

An ankle sprain occurs when the ankle suddenly twists, ankle rolls, or turns in an unexpected way. It causes damage to the soft tissues and ligaments surrounding the ankle joint.

The ankle ligament stabilizes the ankle joint. A ligament consists of several strands of tissue all compacted together to form a strong structure. Sometimes, an ankle sprain may cause a partial or complete tear of a ligament.

When an ankle sprain occurs, the patient may hear a pop or snap. It is a common walking and sporting injury.

Symptoms of an ankle sprain

Some of the most common symptoms of an ankle sprain are:

  • pop or snap sound at the time of injury
  • swelling
  • inability to walk or apply pressure to the ankle
  • throbbing pain
  • bruises
  • soreness

Types of ankle sprains

Grade 1: Mild tear or pull of ligament. Painful but can bear weight. These types of ankle sprains can usually be self-treated.

Grade 2: Larger but incomplete tear of ligament. Pain is severe and ankle won’t support much weight.

Grade 3: Complete tear of ligament or ligaments. Very painful. Can’t touch or move ankle without pain. Treatment may require surgery.

What causes an ankle sprain?

Most ankle sprains are caused by a sudden twist of the ankle. The sudden twist may be caused by:

  • sports activity (running, jumping, kicking)
  • abnormal walking condition

How are ankle sprains treated?

If you believe you have sprained your ankle, apply ice or an ice pack on it immediately. The ice will help decrease the swelling. Next, visit your doctor so he can take an x-ray to make sure that it is not broken.

You should also follow the R.I.C.E. theory. To follow R.I.C.E, Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate the wounded area.

In severe cases, surgery may be needed to repair the tendons supporting the ankle.

It usually takes about 3 to 7 weeks to fully recover. It may take a few months for swelling to completely go away.