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Sprained ankle


Disease: Sprained ankle Sprained ankle
Category: Bones, joints, muscles diseases
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Disease Definition:

In some cases, a roll, twist or turn of the ankle in an awkward way may cause it to become sprained. This happens when the abnormal movement stretches or tears the ligaments that help in holding the ankle together.

When the ligaments are forced beyond their normal range of motion, a sprained ankle occurs. Ligaments are the tough and elastic bands of fibrous tissue that connect one bone to the other and prevent excessive movement by stabilizing the joints.

In some cases, over-the-counter (OTC) medications and self-care measures may be enough to treat a sprained ankle, but in other cases, in order to reveal how badly a person has sprained his/her ankle and to help him/her take the right steps to get well, a medical evaluation may be important.

Work Group:

Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes


Restricted range of motion, swelling and sometimes bruising and pain, particularly when bearing weight on the ankle are some of the signs and symptoms of a sprained ankle. At the time of the injury, some people may hear or feel a "pop".

In case someone suspects a sprain and experiences pain and swelling in the ankle, he/she should call a doctor. The person should discuss with the doctor to know if he/she needs to have the ankle evaluated or not, however, self-care measures may be all what is needed. A person may have a broken bone in the ankle or lower leg in case signs and symptoms are severe.


When the ankle is forced to move out of its normal position, forcing one or more of the ligaments surrounding and stabilizing the bones out of its usual range of motion and causing the ligament to stretch or tear, a sprain will occur.

A fall that causes the ankle to twist, walking or doing exercises on an uneven surface or landing awkwardly on the foot after jumping or pivoting are some of the circumstances that may cause a sprained ankle.

Participating in sports and having a prior ankle injury are some of the factors that may increase the risk of having a sprained ankle.

Previous ankle injury:
A person will be more likely to sprain an ankle again in case he/she has sprained it before, or had another type of ankle injury.

Participating in sports:
Tennis, basketball, trail running, football and soccer and some of the sports that require rolling or twisting the foot, making people prone to spraining their ankle, especially if they’re overweight.



Chronic joint instability, chronic pain and early-onset arthritis in the affected joint are some of the complications that may be experienced in case the sprained ankle is left untreated, or if the person goes back to practicing their activities too soon after spraining the ankle.


Many sprained ankles could be self-treated. However, the severity of the injury will determine the right kind of treatment.

Usually, the pain caused by a sprained ankle can be managed with over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen.

In order to restore the ankle's range of motion, strength, flexibility and balance, the person should start performing physical therapy exercises after a few days of the injury, and after the swelling has gone down.

To train the ankle muscles again to work together to support the joint, balance and stability training is quite important. Standing on one leg is one of these exercises, which may involve various degrees of balance challenge.

In case someone regularly participates in sports, and sprained their ankle during exercising, they should ask the doctor when they can begin their activity again. To protect the ankle from injuring it again, they may wear a brace or wrap the ankle.

A person may be referred to a joint specialist for evaluation in case their ankle joint is unstable. In this case, to immobilize the joint and allow it to heal properly, the person may need to wear a walking boot or cast. In some rare cases, the damage may need to be surgically repaired, especially if the person is an elite athlete or if the ligament tear is severe.


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