An ankle sprain is caused by the stretching or tearing of the ligaments that connect the bones in the foot, ankle, and lower leg. It is a common injury among athletes, particularly in football, basketball, and soccer, as these sports require constant cutting and pivoting.

“Ankle sprains are common, but their occurrence and effects can be minimized,” says board-certified fellowship-trained foot and ankle surgeon Dr. C. Luke Rust. “Recognizing the risks and taking preventative measures will help keep you healthy and enjoying your favorite physical activities.”

What is an ankle sprain?
An ankle sprain is a stretch injury of the ligaments that support the ankle. A lateral ankle sprain, which frequently occurs when the ankle is twisted inward, is a stretch injury to the ligaments in the outer part of the ankle. When the ankle is twisted outward, the injury is called a high ankle sprain, which is a stretch injury to the ligaments that hold the tibia and fibula together in the lower leg.

How is an ankle sprain treated?
The initial treatment method is RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). Severe injuries may require an athlete to wear a walking boot or brace to help support the ankle. The goal of this treatment method is to reduce pain and swelling and to restore strength, motion, flexibility, and balance.

How can an ankle sprain be prevented?
There are multiple approaches to avoiding an ankle sprain. “Exercises aimed at strengthening the ankle and increasing the joint’s flexibility are tremendously helpful in injury prevention,” shares Dr. Rust. “In addition to bracing and taping recommendations, our program utilizes the body’s own stabilizers to recover from this injury and avoid it in the future.”

For questions about ankle injuries or injuries associated with sports call 1-800-REBOUND to consult with Dr. Luke C. Rust at Rebound Orthopedics & Neurosurgery.