A sprained ankle is a very common injury that affects people of all ages and abilities. When the ligaments of the ankle are forced to stretch beyond the normal range, a sprain occurs. A severe sprain causes actual tearing of the elastic fibers. This usually happens when the foot rolls, twists or moves in an abnormal angle in relation to the foot. Symptoms include pain and swelling or even hearing or feeling a “pop” in the ankle area.
To diagnose a sprained ankle, doctors will complete a physical exam and order x-rays or MRI or CT studies. The sprain is graded on a scale of one to three. Most ankle sprains can be treated with ice, rest, bracing, elevation, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. Grade two sprains may need more time to heal than grade one sprains. If the sprain is a grade three, involving a full tear, surgery may be needed, although this is quite rare.Previous Page Last Review Date: January 4, 2018