An ankle sprain typically occurs after an inversion-type injury, which involves rolling the foot beneath the ankle or leg. If your foot hits the ground at an angle, or with excessive force, you may sprain your ankle. Your risk for this type of injury is higher in certain activities that require a sudden change of direction like basketball, in which you may land hard and turn your ankle or even step on an opposing player’s foot.
The risk of ankle sprain is also higher for people who tend to walk, run, or play on uneven surfaces; those who have had ankle sprains in the past; and those who wear shoes that are ill-fitting or lack good support.
Although symptoms of an ankle sprain generally appear about the same in most people, the intensity or severity of the injury may cause symptoms to vary.
Symptoms may include:
People who have had multiple sprains in the past may not experience the same pain and swelling, only a wobbly or unsteady ankle. Regardless whether the condition of your ankle is extremely painful or not, all ankle sprains need to receive medical attention as soon as possible.
Most ankle sprains will heal on their own by following the proper procedures. Your podiatrist may recommend that you rest your ankle and elevate it on a pillow when sitting or lying down. He may also suggest that you periodically apply ice to the injury and compress your ankle with an elastic bandage.
Your doctor may also recommend a series of stretching exercises to slowly improve the range of motion of your ankle. Your ankle may be placed in a brace or stirrup for support, and you may take pain pills as needed to alleviate discomfort.
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