Ankle Sprains

doctor examining a student's ankle

*Content listed here is merely information and guidelines and not meant for diagnostic purposes. Please make an appointment if you are injured.*

How It Happens

A sprained ankle can happen to athletes and non-athletes. It can happen when you take part in sports and physical fitness activities or when you simply step on an uneven surface or down at an angle.

A sprain is an injury a ligament which is an elastic structure that holds the bones and joint in place. Ligaments usually stretch within their limits, and then go back to their normal positions. They protect the ankle joint from abnormal movements-especially twisting, turning, and rolling of the foot. When a ligament is forced to stretch beyond its normal range, a sprain occurs. You may lose your balance when your foot is placed unevenly on the ground, fall and be unable to stand on that foot, hear a “pop,” and/or have pain and swelling.

Care and Management

  • Rest: Avoid placing more stress on your ankle. Minimize walking and physical activity for the first few days.
  • Compression: Use an elastic bandage around your ankle to help minimize swelling.
  • Elevation: Keep your ankle above the level of you heart as much as possible to reduce swelling.
  • Ice: Use ice for pain relief.  You can apply ice for 10-20 minutes every hour.