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Ankle Sprain


Ankle sprain is the stretching or tearing of the ligaments which connect the shinbones to the ankle and heel bones. They provide stability to the ankle joint. An ankle sprain is a common injury that occurs when you land on your foot awkwardly or when walking on an uneven surface. It occurs most frequently when you participate in sports or when you jump or run on an irregular surface. Ankle sprains can cause pain, swelling, tenderness, bruising, stiffness, and inability to walk or bear weight on the ankle.
The diagnosis of an ankle sprain is usually made by evaluating the history of the injury and physical examination of the ankle. X-ray of your ankle may be needed to confirm if a fracture is present. MRI might also be required.
RICE is the gold standard treatment of any acute ankle sprain.
  • Rest: Avoid moving to reduce pain and prevent further damage. Crutches and a walking boot may be ordered that help while walking.
  • Ice:  Cold helps to reduce pain and swelling. It should be applied over the injured area for no more than 15 minutes and no more than 5 times a day for the first 3 days after the injury. Ideally, a cold pack or crushed ice should be wrapped in a towel and bandaged around the affected area. Never place ice directly over the skin.
  • Compression: Compression of the injured area helps to reduce swelling and bruising. This is usually accomplished by using an elastic wrap for a few days or weeks after the injury.
  • Elevation: Place the injured ankle above your heart level to reduce swelling. Elevation of an injured leg can be done for about 2 to 3 hours a day.
Analgesics and Anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to help reduce the pain and control inflammation.
When the initial swelling and pain diminishes, it is recommended to start physiotherapy. During your rehabilitation, exercises are recommended to strengthen and improve range of motion in your ankle. You may need to use a brace to support and protect it during sports. Avoid pivoting and twisting movements for 3 weeks. Pain may linger for up to 6 months.
If ankle instability is developed, surgery may be needed.