Ankle sprain

An ankle sprain is a common injury that occurs when ligaments that connect the bones in the foot, ankle, and lower leg are stretched or torn.

People usually feel immediate pain at the site of the tear. Often the ankle starts to swell immediately, and bruising may also develop. The affected area is usually tender to touch.

Initial treatment for ankle sprain is summarized as the PRINCE approach: protection, rest, ice, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen, compression, and elevation. Walking or weight-bearing with crutches and a protective brace promotes healing if it can be done without too much pain.

Proper treatment and rehabilitation exercises are critical for ankle sprains. If an ankle sprain does not heal correctly, your ankle joint may be more likely to be injured again or the pain may not go away.

Last Updated: December 31, 2009

Author: Jeannette Curtis

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma

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