Overview on an ankle sprain

Fact Checked

An ankle sprain involves damage to one or several ankle ligaments. Once a ligament is damaged, it is excessively stretched, partly torn or fully ripped apart.

The injury is generally brought about by abrupt activity where the ankle is twisted such as falling during a sporting event or tripping on the stairs.

What are the indications?

The signs of an ankle sprain typically include:

  • Ankle pain
  • Inflammation and evident bruising
  • Difficulty using or moving the joint
    ankle sprain
    If an individual experience a calf muscle cramp, the muscle must be stretched where it is held for as long as needed.

Management of an ankle sprain

As a vital part of treatment, the individual must change or stop activities that trigger the pain until the ligament has recuperated.

Strengthening and stretching exercises are also suggested to promote healing. An elastic bandage or brace might be used as well. Crutches are also needed until the individual can walk without any discomfort.

In case the ankle ligaments are fully torn, surgery is suggested. After surgery, the ankle is placed in a cast for 4-8 weeks. The discomfort often settles after a few weeks with self-care measures, but some cases require several months or even longer to recuperate.

Other self-care measures that can help lessen the pain and inflammation include:

  • Applying an ice pack that is covered with a clean cloth or towel on the site of injury every 3-4 hours at 20 minutes for each application at a time.
  • Make sure that the foot is elevated on pillows or cushions while sitting or lying down.
  • Pain medications can be taken as instructed by the doctor.


It is important to perform proper warm-up exercises and stretching before engaging in physical activities to lower the risk for injuries.

Follow the safety rules and utilize the right protective gear. Use the right type of footwear and tape the ankle or use a brace when engaging in strenuous sports, particularly if the individual has damaged the ankle previously.

Additionally, avoid running or playing on uneven or jagged terrain.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on an ankle sprain is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the signs and how it is treated, register for a first aid and CPR course with Mississauga First Aid.

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