A sprained ankle is an injury to one of the ligaments in the ankle that occurs when a person rolls, twists or turns the ankle in an awkward way.

Ligaments are tough and flexible bands of tissue that help stabilize joints and prevent excessive movement. A sprained ankle occurs when the ligaments are forced beyond their normal range of motion. Most sprained ankles involve injuries to the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle.

Treatment for a sprained ankle depends on the severity of the injury. Although self-care measures and over-the-counter pain medications may be all you need, a medical evaluation might be necessary to reveal how badly you've sprained your ankle and to put you on the path to recovery.



Symptoms of a sprained ankle are:

  • Ankle pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Restricted range of motion of the ankle
  • Instability of the ankle

Some people hear or feel a "pop" during the injury.



A sprain occurs when the ankle is forced to move out of its normal position, which can cause one or more of the ankle's ligaments to stretch, partially tear or tear completely.

Causes of a sprained ankle might include:

  • A fall that causes the ankle to twist
  • Landing awkwardly or with too much force on the foot after jumping or pivoting
  • Walking, running, playing or exercising on uneven surfaces
  • Playing sports that require sudden changes in direction
  • Wearing shoes that do not fit well or do not have good support



Risk Factors

Factors that increase the risk of a sprained ankle include:

  • Sports – ankle sprains are a common sports injury. Playing sports on an uneven surface or being overweight can also increase the risk.
  • Prior ankle injury. Once a person has sprained his/her ankle, or had another type of ankle injury, he/she is more likely to sprain it again.
  • Women wearing high-heeled shoes



Here are some tips for preventin a sprained ankle.

  • Warm up and stretch before exercising or playing sports
  • Be especially careful when walking, running or working on an uneven surface
  • Wear shoes with good support that fit well and are made for your activity
  • Don't wear high-heeled shoes
  • Maintain good muscle strength and flexibility