More than 25,000 people sprain their ankles every day. Ankle sprains are caused by an unnatural twisting or force on the ankle bones of the foot, often resulting in one or more ligaments on the outside of the ankle to be stretched or torn. If not properly treated, ankle sprains could develop into long-term problems..

An ankle sprain is a common injury and usually results when the ankle is twisted, or inverted. The term "sprain" signifies injury (below) to the soft tissues, usually the ligaments, of the ankle. 

How Do You Know It's and Ankle Sprain and Not Broken?

The diagnosis of an ankle sprain is usually made by examination of the ankle and x-rays to make sure that there is no fracture of the ankle. If there is a complete rupture of the ligaments suspected, your doctor may order stress x-rays (below) as well. These x-rays are taken while someone twists or "stresses" the ligaments.     

ankle sprains

Treatment for an Ankle Sprain

The treatment for ankle sprains depends on the severity of the case. usually treatment will begin with RICE-rest, ice, compression, elevation. It is never recommended to try to walk on a sprained ankle, even if it not confirmed. Depending on the severity of the sprain, your doctor may recommend a CAM walker or crutches.
·  Elevation will help control the swelling
·  Gentle compression and ice will control swelling
·  Mild pain relievers will help with the pain

·  Crutches and braces to limit or prevent weight bearing

Should I Wear a Cast?

Casts have fallen out of favor, and as treatment progresses, early weight bearing has been shown to be beneficial. Braces that can be worn to support the ankle - but still allow weight bearing are the most popular treatment method today. Healing of the ligaments usually takes about 6 weeks. The swelling may be present for several months. A physical therapist may be suggested to help you regain full function of your injured ankle.

If conservative treatment does correct the ankle, surgery may be suggested to completely heal the ankle. Your podiatrist will be able to determine the correct treatment for your situation.


Peter Wishnie, D.P.M.
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Owner of Family Foot & Ankle Specialists in Piscataway and Hillsborough, NJ. Make an appointment today!