An ankle sprain is caused by the stretching or tearing of the ligaments that connect the bones in the foot, ankle, and lower leg. It is a common injury among athletes, particularly in football, basketball, and soccer, as these sports require constant cutting and pivoting.
Ankle sprains can be common, but are avoidable with the proper precautions. Recognizing the symptoms and taking preventative measures will help keep you healthy and enjoying your favorite physical activity.
What is an ankle sprain?
A sprain is a stretch injury of the ligaments that support the ankle. A lateral ankle sprain, which frequently occurs when the ankle is twisted inward, is a stretch injury to the ligaments in the outer part of the ankle. When the ankle is twisted outward, the injury is called a high ankle sprain, which is a stretch injury to the ligament that holds the tibia and fibula together in the lower leg.
How is an ankle sprain treated?
The initial treatment method is RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevate). Severe injuries may require an athlete to wear a walking boot to help support the ankle. The goal of this treatment method is to reduce pain and swelling and to restore strength, motion, flexibility, and balance.
How can an ankle sprain be prevented?
Wearing a brace or taping the ankle can help prevent re-injury. Braces with straps or ties generally provide greater support.