Achilles Tendon Rupture RecoveryAnkle sprains are a common injury and can happen at any age. Take a look below to learn how to recognize the symptoms of a sprained ankle.

Your ankle joint is the meeting point of three bones – the tibia, the fibula and the talus which sits on top of the heel bone (calcaneus). These bones are held together by strong bands of fibrous tissues called ligaments. An ankle sprain occurs when these ligaments are stretched or torn. The most commonly sprained ligaments are those at the side of the ankle.


Sprained Ankle

A sprained ankle usually happens when you accidentally twist or roll your foot. This forces the ankle joint out of its normal position. Walking on uneven surfaces, playing sport, or wearing high -heeled shoes can all lead to this injury.

An ankle sprain can range from mild to severe. The more damage that has been done, the more severe your symptoms will be. The ankle is a weight-bearing joint so then the ligament is damaged, the joint can become unstable and unable to provide normal support.

The severity of a sprain is graded according to how badly the ligament has been stretched and whether or not the ankle joint has been made unstable:

  • Grade I – mild stretching of the ligament without joint instability.
  • Grade II – partial tear (rupture) of the ligament but without joint instability (or with mild instability).
  • Grade III – a severe sprain: complete rupture of the ligament with instability of the joint.


6 Symptoms of Sprained Ankle

1. Pain

With most sprains, you feel some pain right away.

  • With a mild sprain, the ankle may be some pain. It usually feels stable, and you can walk on that foot with little pain. With a moderate sprain, there will be a lot of pain around your ankle. With a severe sprain, pain is sudden and severe enough to make you stop whatever you are doing.
  • The pain associated with an ankle sprain is often described as sudden and sharp.


2. Tenderness

The affected area may feel tender when you touch your ankle.


3. Swelling and Inflammation

Damage to tissue and ligaments result in inflammation and swelling.

  • If swelling occurs on the inside of your ankle, this indicates that the deltoid ligament has been damaged.
  • If the swelling is on the outside of your ankle, then it is probable that one or more ligaments in the lateral ligament complex have been sprained.


4. Bruising

  • In addition to swelling, there may be bluish, reddish, or purplish skin discolorations over the sprain area.
  • This indicates that ligaments have been torn and there is some bleeding (which shows as bruising) around the affected joint.


5. Limited Movement

  • If the sprain is severe, you may not be able to turn, bend, or flex your foot.
  • You will probably not be able to weight-bear on the affected foot.
  • Walking may be difficult or impossible.


6. Popping or Snapping Sound

With a severe sprain, you may hear or feel a ‘popping’ or ‘snapping’ sound or sensation when the injury occurs. This is a sign that the ligament has stretched or torn.


Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries seen by doctors.  They can range from mild to severe. Most sprains heal within a few weeks. The longer a sprain is left untreated, the longer it takes to heal.  Recognising the symptoms of a sprained ankle and acting on that knowledge will aid a quick recovery, and have you back on your feet sooner rather than later!

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