An ankle sprain is an injury to the ankle’s ligaments, which are strong bands of tissue that enclose and connect the bones of the leg to the foot. Injury to the ankle often occurs when it’s twisted or turned in an awkward and unnatural way. This causes the ligaments to either stretch or tear, causing the sprain.
When the foot makes a sudden twist or roll, forcing the ankle joint out of its natural position, an ankle sprain happens. The ligaments that surround and connect the bones of the leg to the foot can either tear or stretch from the rolling, unnatural movement. Though playing sports can cause such injuries, household accidents like stepping off a stair or getting up to fast from a chair and stumbling can also cause sprained ankles.
The following symptoms often occur when spraining an ankle:
- Not able to put weight on ankle
- Skin discoloration
Depending on the severity of the ankle sprain, some of these types of injuries may be treated at home. Mild sprains take a week to 10 days to heal. More severe ones take weeks. Home treatments include:
- Apply ice to the sprain immediately to reduce swelling for 20 to 30 minutes
- Using elastic ACE bandages to wrap the ankle
- Wearing a brace support
- Using crutches to keep your weight of the ankle
- Elevating your foot while resting or sleeping—helps reduce swelling
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) for swelling and pain
Should I go to Indigo?
It can be hard to determine on your own whether your injury is a sprain or a fracture. Having your injury evaluated by MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care can ensure you are taking the right steps to heal your injury.