What is an Ankle Sprain?

An ankle sprain is a type of injury that occurs when you twist and/or land awkwardly on your ankle.

Ligaments are the most commonly injured tissues in an ankle sprain. Ligaments are bands of connective tissue in the body that help to stabilize joints by preventing unwanted movement. You may experience pain, swelling, loss of function, and sometimes an inability to fully bear weight after this injury.

Because there are different degrees of ankle sprain, your recovery time will be determined by the severity of your injury. Recovery times can range from a few weeks to several months.

Fortunately, simple precautions can significantly reduce your chances of getting an ankle sprain. Wearing proper footwear, as well as custom orthotics, can give your feet and ankles the extra support and stability they require while walking, running, jumping, and dancing.

Ankle sprains are just one of many foot and ankle issues that can be diagnosed quickly and effectively by the trained professionals at Texas Foot & Ankle Center.

Person experiencing an ankle sprain injury

What are the Symptoms of Ankle Sprains?

Ankle sprains can occur at any age. While sprains most frequently occur in athletes during competition, they can also occur in the course of daily life.

A sprained ankle can cause the following symptoms:

  • You may hear a ‘popping’ sound or feel as if your ankle has given way if you injure it.
  • Pain, especially when bearing weight on your ankle.
  • Swelling on the soles of the feet and ankles. This can be minor, but some people experience significant swelling.
  • Bruising may occur around the outside and/or inside of the ankle, spreading into the foot and even down to the toes. This can worsen over the course of a few days following the injury. It is not a cause for concern if it does not occur immediately.
  • When you touch the painful area, you may feel tenderness or pain.

Ankle sprains are classified into three types based on the extent of ligament damage:

  • Grade 1: The ligament fibers have slightly stretched, or there is a very small tear. Your ankle will be slightly swollen and tender to the touch.
  • Grade 2: The ligament is torn, but not completely. Your ankle is swollen from the injury and moving hurts.
  • Grade 3: The ligament is completely torn. Your ankle is swollen, the injury is painful, and walking is difficult.

What Causes an Ankle Sprain?

If you roll over onto the outside of your foot and your ankle twists inward, you may have sprained your ankle. You typically don’t have time to react because this happens so quickly.

Inversion injuries occur when the body is twisted quickly and forcefully inward. This causes the ligaments and muscles to be overstretched, torn, or even ruptured.

On rare occasions, the stronger deltoid ligaments on the inside of your foot can be strained if your foot and ankle move in the opposite direction over the inside of your foot.

Ankle pain can also result from sudden flexion of the foot’s ankle or from twisting the body around while keeping the foot firmly planted on the ground.

The most typical reasons why someone would sprain their ankle are:

  • A swift and unexpected reversal of course.
  • Collisions in competitive or recreational settings.
  • Exercising, running, or walking on a rocky or uneven surface (for example, walking across cobbles).
  • To turn while maintaining footing (for example studs on cleats getting caught on a football field).
  • Falling down the stairs or missing a step is common when wearing high heels.
Man after an ankle sprain with x-ray showing ankle

How to Treat an Ankle Sprain

The severity of your ankle sprain should determine your course of treatment. The treatment aims to alleviate symptoms like pain and swelling, speed up ligament healing, and get the ankle back in working order.

For the first few days after an injury, do the following to reduce swelling and provide support (R.I.C.E. therapy):

  • Stop all physical activity and try not to put any stress on the injured area by resting.
  • A cold compress, such as an ice pack or a frozen bag of vegetables wrapped in a tea towel, should be applied to the injured area for up to 20 minutes at a time every two to three hours.
  • Wrapping a bandage tightly around an injury is called compression.
  • Raise it up as much as you can by propping it up on a pillow.
  • Avoiding heat (including hot baths and heat packs), massages, and alcohol for the first few days can help reduce swelling.

When you are able to move the injured area without experiencing any pain, you should keep moving it so that the joint or muscle does not stiffen.

When You Need a Podiatrist for Ankle Sprain Treatment

Pain from a sprained ankle is typically treatable with over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, or acetaminophen.

Sometimes, you will need to see a podiatrist for ankle sprain treatment. If the injury isn’t better in a couple of days with home treatment and rest, it’s time to give our office a call.

If your ankle sprain is particularly bad when you come to see us, we may suggest the following treatments:

  • Put the ankle in a cast or splint to prevent it from moving.
  • Physical therapy can help you regain your mobility.
  • In extremely unusual cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to address the root cause of the problem and alleviate associated symptoms. Keep in mind that this is a very unusual occurrence and that we will always try less invasive options before considering surgery.

Contact Us for Help With Treatment

No matter what sort of help you require to overcome your particular problem, our team has the expertise and resources to get you back on your feet and do the things you enjoy once again. Contact our office at (214) 660-0777 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment today.


Doctor's Professional Building 1

1151 N. Buckner Boulevard, Suite 201

Dallas, TX 75218

(214) 660-0777


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8:00AM - 5:00PM

Closed for Lunch
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