Ankle sprains generally occur when there is a rapid twisting of the ankle while the foot is planted. Often times this happens while playing sports, or walking on uneven surfaces. Most times the ankle rolls outward while the foot is turned inward. This motion causes stretching, and in more severe cases tearing of the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Acute ankle sprains typically present with immediate pain, tenderness, and swelling around the injured area.
Treatment immediately after injury includes ice, rest, elevation, and compression to the affected ankle. This helps to reduce swelling and pain during the acute phase. X-rays may be needed in more severe cases to rule out fracture of the bones. Physical therapy modalities will speed up the healing process. Rehabilitation exercises help to provide more stability and flexibility to the joint when ligaments are stretched and injured. This helps to reduce the risk of further injury in the future. These treatments are crucial for athletes with ankle sprains who are planning to continue to play their sport.