Ankle sprain

7 Min Read
Thanks to:

What is it

In the architecture of toot body ankles are the most susceptible elements. These multifaceted pivots of ligament tendon, bone and muscle support your whole body weight and may absorb a force of influence equal to three times the weight when you run or jump. A sprained ankle is the most common of all joint injuries. It occurs when the bone is forced out of the ankle joint because of a tear of one or both of the two ligaments securing the bone in the joint.

Anyone is susceptible to ankle sprains from the basketball pro to the average runner navigating an uneven surface to the woman in high heels stepping off a curb.

Ankle sprains are graded as mild (the ligament is strained or stretched) moderate (a partially torn ligament) and severe (a complete tear, meaning that the ligament can no longer control the ankle joint). If you hear a peeping sound when your ankle turns, that probably means the sprain is severe.

Minor sprains, in which the ankle bone is tipped slightly out of place for an instant, often can be successfully treated at home. Moderate and especially severe sprains, however, need medical attention. Any sprain can put you at risk for another because, when the injury heals, it leaves the tendon weakened, less flexible, and more susceptible to injury.


  • Pain and tenderness, from mild aching to intense pain
  • Swelling of the ankle, usually accruing very quickly after the injury
  • Inability to move the ankle or to stand and put pressure on it

What causes it

Majority (about 85 percent) of sprains are overturn sprains. This occurs when the sole of the foot turns inmost, hurting the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Basketball players who land on the edges of their feet and joggers who step into holes are amongst those who usually bear inversion sprains. Emersion sprains occur when the foot turns outward, affecting ligaments on the inner side.

What if you do nothing

Yen minor sprains will improve on their own. However, in cases where there is swelling, discoloration, or intense pain, you should attend to the injury immediately.

Home remedies

If you can put weight on the ankle and if the swelling and pain are slight, you may not need medical attention right away or at all. Icing the injury as soon as you can is essential; follow up the icing with the other steps of RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), as explained below. Maintain the treatment for up to 72 hours, if necessary.

Most sprains, even the most severe, do heal without complications. It takes about 10 days for a mild sprain to heal, though it takes longer for the full range of motion to return.


Avoid any activity that causes pain. Keep weight off the ankle. Using crutches, even for mild sprains, is advisable for the first few days.


Apply ice to the injury as soon as you can. Ice applied for 15 minutes at intervals of about 2 hours for 24 to 48 hours will reduce pain, inflammation, and any further bleeding into the ankle joint. You may apply ice at more frequent intervals if necessary. (See page 492 for more tips on icing.)


Securely wrap the ankle in an elastic bandage and keep it on during the waking hours. Be careful not to apply it so tightly that it causes pain or additional swelling or compromises blood flow.


Whenever you are resting or sleeping, make sure your foot is elevated slightly higher than your heart. This helps draw fluids away from the injury, decreasing swelling.

Try over-the-counter pain relievers

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen, ibuprofen or aspirin help to reduce pain as well as swelling, though they won’t quicken the healing process. Acetaminophen will help with pain but not inflammation.


Prevention is unusually rewarding in this instance, since people who have sustained an ankle injury once are nearly twice as likely to reinjure themselves.


Before and after exercising, stretch your calf muscles. Tight calf muscles pull on the Achilles tendon, attached to the heel bone, and can cut down on the range of motion in your foot, thus sometimes promoting twisted ankles.

Wear supportive shoes

When you’re on your feet, especially if you’re walking, wear stable shoes that offer some support. Replace or repair run-down heels and soles. Avoid platform soles and high heels, or am’ shoe that throws the foot off balance. Open shoes and sandals, which are less stable than other footgear, are a poor choice if you’re trying to avoid ankle injury.

Exercise regularly

Sedentary people are more likely to experience a sprain than those with strong muscles.

Strengthen your legs

Start with heel raises: stand with your feet comfortably apart: rise on the balls of your feet as possible, hold for a few seconds, then lower. Gradually work up to 20 repetitions. Eventually try this exercise while standing with the balls of your feet on the edge of a step or a book, so that you carefully dip your heels lower than your toes.

Alternate these with toe raises: wearing flat shoes with smooth soles, stand on your heels and keep your toes as high off the ground as possible: walk like this, keeping your toes elevated- for three to five minutes. Also try walking on the insides of your feet then the outsides.

Share this Article