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Strong bands of tissue called ligaments connect the bones of the ankle joint.  If you twist or turn your ankle, the ligaments can stretch or tear.  This is called a sprain.  A sprain can be mild, moderate or severe.  Severe sprains may causes swelling and pain and you may not be able to move the ankle or put weight on it.  Also, the ankle can turn black and blue and the bruising may extend into the foot and leg. 


1) RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation
2) Bracing/splinting - If you have a more severe sprain, you may require a brace or cast
3) Home exercises - Once the pain has improved, range of motion exercises is important to prevent permanent stiffness.
4) Physicl therapy - Also, the ankle needs to "re-learn" balance and proprioception.

** swelling can take 6 to 12 months to resolve after an ankle sprain

Return to sports only after you have met these goals:

1) Full range of motion in all directions
2) Near-normal muscle strength
3) Good balance
4) No swelling or pain with exercise/activity
5) Recommend wearing an ankle brace for 3 months while participating in sports after an ankle sprain

In extremely rare cases, the ligaments do not heal over time and this may require a surgery to repair them.

To find out more information on Ankle Sprains, please visit the Orthopaedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.


Sara Zickuhr Designsist, south bay ortho