What is Ankle Sprain

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jan 05, 2014
Quick Bites

  • Grade I ankle sprain is less severe and is characterized by mild pain.
  • Grade II is moderate ligament damage, and the ankle joint is somewhat loose.
  • Grade III is an emergency situation in which x-ray need to be taken.
  • RICED is one of the best approaches to deal with ankle sprain.

Ankles are particularly prone to sprain because of the small size of the joint and the forces exerted when walking, running and jumping, especially if the surface is uneven.

ankle sprainAn ankle sprain is a stretch or tear in one or more of the ankle ligaments. Ankle ligaments are slightly elastic bands of tissue that keep the ankle bones in place. A severe ankle sprain can stretch and tear the ligaments and may cause ankle tendons.

Depending on the severity of the injury, an ankle sprain is classified as:


Grade I

The ankle is painful, but there is little ligament damage and little loss of function. Less severe and is characterized by mild pain and some swelling, grade I ankle sprain goes away in a day or two. Even when it persists, there is stiffness or pain; but a person is able to move.


Grade II

There is moderate ligament damage, and the ankle joint is somewhat loose. One can attempt limited walking with a walking cast and crutches but not too much as there could be complications. Active exercise and therapy are recommended for grade II ankle sprain which help strengthen, and improve flexibility and expand movement of the ankle.


Grade III

One or more ligaments are torn, and the ankle joint is very loose or unstable. It is an emergency situation in which x-ray need to be taken to determine the severity and check for fractures. You may have to put on fracture boot or cast for a few weeks besides taking anti-inflammatory medication. Surgery becomes necessary in some cases if tendons and ligaments are damaged.


What to do when you twist your ankle

When you twist your ankle, do not move it. Keep it stable and do not put weight or pressure on the ankle.

RICED is one of the best approaches for joint injury. RICED stands for rest, ice, compression, elevation and diagnosis. To reduce the damage, you rest the leg. Ice the knee area for 20 minutes to reduce pain and swelling. Wrap a compressive bandage on the sprained ankle. This will reduce internal bleeding and swelling. Keeping the sprained ankle elevated using pillows will reduce the blood flow to the area and help lessen swelling. If the injury does not improve within two days, it is time for diagnosis. Consult a medical professional for a diagnosis



Spraining your ankle can be very painful. You may twist or sprain your ankle during a normal routine, not necessarily during a strenuous activity or sports. Most of the issues with ankles are sprains, which usually happens when the ankle twists.

The treatment of the ankle is important for a quick recovery and to prevent further damage. Fortunately, there are many things that you can do or are easily available to treat strained ankle. Wear the proper shoes with good stability to prevent further injuries. Make sure you warm up your muscles before doing any strenuous activity or sports.



Read more articles on Sprain.



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