A sprain is the stretching or tearing of ligaments that connect adjacent bones and provide stability to a joint. An ankle sprain is a common injury that occurs when you suddenly fall, twist the joint or when you land in an awkward position after a jump. Most commonly, it occurs when you participate in sports or when you jump or run on a surface that is irregular. 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 injury and physical examination of the ankle. An X-ray of your ankle may be needed to confirm if a fracture is present. The most common treatment recommended for ankle sprains is rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE).
The doctor may also use a brace or splint to reduce motion of the ankle. Anti-inflammatory pain medications may be prescribed to help reduce the pain and control inflammation.
During your recovery, rehabilitation exercises are recommended to strengthen and improve range of motion in your foot. You may need to use a brace or wrap to support, and protect your ankle during sports activities. Avoid pivoting and twisting movements for 2 to 3 weeks. To prevent further sprains or re-injury, you may need to wear a semi-rigid ankle brace during exercise, special wraps and high-top lace shoes.