Tearing of ligaments in the ankle is referred to as an ankle sprain. Ligaments join the bones together and enable their movement. Although the ankle has many ligaments, the ATFL (anterior talofibular ligament) and the CFL (calcaneal fibular ligament) are most susceptible to injury. Ankle sprain most commonly affects the lateral side of the ankle and can occur as a result of any activity that leads to the twisting or rolling of the foot. The injury is common among sportspersons involved in running, jumping and activities involving physical collisions.In most cases, the sprain heals through conservative methods of treatment and surgery is not required or recommended. A severe sprain makes the foot prone to more sprains and injuries in the future.


  • Inversion – twisting of the foot under the ankle or leg
  • People with Hindfoot Varus or inwardly turned heels are more prone to ankle sprain
  • Instability of the foot due to weak supporting muscles


  • Pain which can be mild to severe
  • Tenderness at the point of injury
  • Ecchymosis – discoloration caused due to rupturing of blood vessels under the skin
  • Redness and swelling Inability to bear body weight while attempting to stand or walk
  • Pain may get aggravated with movement


  • Evaluation of the patient’s medical history, symptoms, mode of injury
  • Physical examination of the injured foot may be conducted by the orthopedic doctor which also involves checking the range of motion intact
  • X-ray scan may be conducted to see if there is any injury to the bone structure
  • MRI imaging helps view damage to the soft tissues and ligaments


  • Resting the injured ankle for a few days
  • Cryotherapy- Applying ice packs at regular intervals to reduce swelling and pain
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to provide relief from pain and inflammation
  • Keeping the injured foot elevated above the level of the heart
  • Crutches or walking aids may be recommended to patients who are unable to bear weight on the foot.
  • Physical therapy may help to restore motion, flexibility and strength of the ankle joint
  • Ankle brace may be prescribed for use by sportsperson to provide additional support to the ankle
  • Surgical treatment may be required if the injury involves multiple ligament tears or cartilage damage and if the ligaments do not become stable after weeks of conservative therapy

For treatment of ankle sprain and other orthopedic conditions, visit OrthoTexas.