What are the Symptoms of Ankle Sprain

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Sep 27, 2012

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Quick Bites

  • You may feel pain immediately after twisting your foot.
  • Examine your ankle for signs of swelling.
  • Look for discoloration or bruising around the skin.
  • Notice any redness and warmth around the ankle.

Ankle sprains are some of the most common sports injuries, often recurring. In most cases the ankle is rolled outwards, resulting in damage to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle.

Ankle sprain is an injury to one of the ligaments in your ankle. Ligaments are tough bands of tissue that hold your bones together. Although ligaments are flexible, all it takes is a sudden twist for them to stretch too far or snap entirely.

Symptoms of Ankle Sprain


  • If you feel pain immediately after rolling, twisting or turning your foot, it may indicate that you have an ankle sprain. Ankle sprains could be mild, moderate and severe. The level of injury depends on the amount of pain or difficulty you have when you move and use your ankle.
  • If you feel pain, examine your ankle for signs of swelling. The injured ankle generally begins to swell immediately after the injury.
  • Look for discoloration or bruising around the skin of the injured ankle. Although bruising is common, it does not always occur with ankle injuries.
  • Check if you notice any redness and warmth around the ankle. An increase in blood flow to the injured area can cause these symptoms.
  • Touch your ankle and pay attention to any soreness or sensitivity. With an ankle sprain, you will usually experience tenderness in or around the injured area.

Symptoms of Ankle Sprain

How bad is my sprained ankle?

Recovery time will depend on how bad the injury is.

Grade 1: Symptoms will cause only mild pain with little or no instability. There may be some joint stiffness with difficulty walking or running but the athlete is likely to be able to play on. Some stretching or perhaps minor tearing of the lateral ankle ligaments may have happened resulting in mild swelling around the bone on the outside of the ankle.

Grade 2:
Symptoms will result in moderate to severe pain with difficulty walking. The athlete is unlikely to be able to play on and will limp. Minor bruising may be evident along with swelling and stiffness in the ankle joint. There is likely to be some instability of the joint resulting from moderate tearing of some of the ligament fibres.

Grade 3: Sprains usually results in a total or almost complete rupture of a ligament. Severe pain will be felt initially with lots of swelling and extensive bruising. The athlete will experience gross instability of the joint.

Image Source: Getty

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