Valley Foot Care, Inc.

Patient Education Library

Ankle Sprain

hiker's boot with a twisted ankle

Ankle sprains account for 40% of all injuries in sports and 10% of all musculoskeletal injuries in the general population. Ruptured ligaments require a minimum of 1 year to restore original mechanical strength.

An ankle sprain is when the ligaments in your ankle are stretched (strained) or torn (sprained). The ligaments are tissues that hold bones together. You may have had a sudden injury to your ankle, such as tripping or twisting, or you may have bent your ankle the wrong way.

You may have pain, tenderness, swelling, or bruising of the injured ankle. You may also not be able to bear weight on and/or move the ankle very well.

People often disregard ankle sprains as not important; however, in order to avoid long-term damage to the ankle, it is necessary to consult with your physician. Due to the risk of hematoma (a deeper soft tissue blood injury) and infection, it is recommended that all patients with ankle sprains consult with a foot and ankle specialist without delay.

During your visit, your ankle will examined to determine the extent of the damage. You will likely need an x-ray to rule out bone injury. Sometimes advanced diagnostic imaging such as CT scan or MRI may be necessary. You may have pain, tenderness, swelling, or bruising of the injured ankle. You may also not be able to bear weight on and/or move the ankle very well.

You may need to wear a brace, splint, ace wrap or cast boot on the injured ankle. Crutches may be needed to help you walk. You may take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help the pain, but do not take ibuprofen if you are allergic to aspirin. Rest, ice, and elevation, may also lessen the swelling and pain.

Private Practice Since 1997