What is a sprained ankle?
A sprained ankle is a very common injury that can occur suddenly during work, sport and everyday activities. Ligaments on the outside and inside of your ankle help keep the joint in its position. A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched and breaks, which results in reduced stability in your ankle joint.
Causes and symptoms
An ankle sprain is caused by damage to your ligaments, which typically occurs as a result of twisting your ankle. This can happen, for example, when you accidentally step in a hole or land badly after jumping. People with poor balance tend to get sprains more easily.
Typically, you’ll feel pain in the injured joint and the surrounding muscles immediately. Bleeding and swelling will additionally often occur across the injured ligament.
Diagnosis and treatment
Limit the swelling
You can attempt to limit the swelling by adhering to the RICE principle. RICE stands for:
- Ice (cool your injury)
- Compression (put an elastic band around your ankle)
- Elevation (keep your foot above your heart)
Begin active mobility exercises straight after suffering an ankle sprain. Later, you should rehabilitate the lack of balance in the ankle with exercises training the stabilizing muscles in your ankle region. If you don’t proactively perform these exercises, you’ll increase the likelihood of prolonged discomfort. An unstable ankle is likely to lead to further sprains that will increase in frequency over time.
Use the Injurymap screening tool to find out if you are ready to treat your ankle pain with rehabilitative exercises.