An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments that help hold the ankle bones together are forced beyond their normal range of motion. The ligaments on the outer side of the ankle are usually stretched, teared partially, or teared completely. Rolling, twisting, or turning your ankle in an awkward way can lead to an ankle sprain. It can be caused from walking or exercising on an uneven surface or from falling. Someone who has injured their ankle before or wears improper shoes increases their chance of a sprained ankle. It is also a very common sports injury, especially in soccer, tennis, and basketball because these sports involve jumping, cutting action, or twisting of the foot.
Depending on how severe the sprain is, the signs and symptoms include tenderness when the ankle is palpated, pain when weight is applied on the affected foot, swelling, bruising, limited range of motion, ankle instability, or popping sound heard at the time of injury.
Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (R.I.C.E.) can be done to treat the sprained ankle for the first 2-3 days and the pain can be treated with pain relievers. Depending on the severity, sports tape or an ankle support brace can be used for stabilizing the ankle. In order to avoid an ankle sprain, one should warm up before exercising or playing sports, work on muscle strength and flexibility, and perform balancing exercises.