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are common injuries that can result in lifelong problems. Some people with
repeated or severe sprains can develop long-term joint pain and weakness.
Treating a sprained ankle can help prevent ongoing ankle problems.
If an ankle sprain does not heal
correctly, the joint may become unstable, resulting in a weakened and easily
reinjured ankle. Proper initial care of your sprained ankle is critical.
An ankle sprain occurs when
ligaments that connect the bones in the foot, ankle,
and lower leg are stretched or torn.
An ankle sprain often
happens when you make a rapid shifting movement with your foot planted, for
example, when playing soccer or getting tackled in football. Most commonly, the
ankle rolls outward and the foot turns inward in what is called an
inversion injury. It results in stretching and tearing of the ligaments that
connect the bones in the foot, ankle, and lower leg on the outside of the
Less commonly, the ankle rolls inward and the foot turns
outward in an
eversion injury, damaging the ligaments at the inside of the ankle.
When you sprain your ankle, you stretch and tear
An ankle sprain occurs when ligaments that
connect the bones in the foot, ankle, and lower leg are stretched and
Continue to Why?
compression wrap helps decrease swelling. Wear a compression wrap until the
swelling is gone. The compression wrap will not protect the ankle.
Compression wraps help decrease
A compression wrap helps decrease
Continue to How?
To help control swelling,
some doctors recommend wrapping your ankle with an elastic bandage, also called
an ACE wrap. This product can be purchased at most drugstores. To apply a
When applied properly, the elastic bandage should be
snug and offer your ankle firm support.
When applied properly, the elastic bandage
should be snug, but it should not be so tight that it cuts off your
circulation. Check your toes to make sure they are pink and warm. If they are
purplish or blue, cool to the touch, or numb or tingly, undo the wrap and start
Continue to Where?
To learn more about applying a compression wrap, talk to:
If you would like to learn more about the care of ankle sprains, the following resources are available:
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
provides information and education to raise the public's awareness of
musculoskeletal conditions, with an emphasis on preventive measures. The AAOS
website contains information on orthopedic conditions and treatments, injury
prevention, and wellness and exercise.
The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS)
provides information on a variety of topics, including foot care for adults,
children, and people who have diabetes; proper shoe fit; and how to select
children's shoes and sports shoes. Some information is available in several
languages besides English.
Return to topic:
January 23, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
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