Definition: common musculoskeletal injury in which the ligaments of the ankle partially or completely tear due to sudden stretching

Medical terminology: medial ankle sprain, lateral ankle sprain, inversion sprain



Ankle sprains  are the most frequent type of injuries experienced in sports and even during everyday activities.  An ankle sprain occurs when there is an excessive twisting motion of the ankle.

Any of these things may be damaged in an ankle injury: a bone may be fractured or broken, excessive muscle strain around the ankle joint may cause a tendonitis (inflammation of a tendon), or a ligament may be stretched or torn.

The term ankle sprain usually refers to the injury of a ligament.

What are the signs and symptoms of an ankle sprain?

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  • Pain
  • Swelling of the ankle joint
  • Redness and warmth
  • Bruising


What can cause an ankle sprain?

Ligaments are injured when an excessive stretching force is applied to them. The most common way for an ankle sprain to occur is when the foot is excessively turned inward or inverted. This can occur when:

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  • Stepping on an uneven surface or stepping into a hole
  • Landing on an object/other person’s foot which causes the foot to invert
  • Awkwardly stepping up or down during normal day activities
  • Excessive twisting motion while the foot is planted on the ground


What are the medical treatments for an ankle sprain?

Treatment by David Allison will consist of a comprehensive ankle assessment to determine the severity of the injury. The appropriate treatment will be decided after the severity of the injury is known. Treatment may incorporate medication and different off-loading devices to reduce pressure and motion of the injured ankle such as:

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  • Removable air-cast boot
  • Ankle-foot-orthoses (AFO)
  • Leg cast
  • Crutches
  • Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen or naproxen