A sprained ankle is either a strained ligament or, in more serious cases, a partial or complete tear in the ligament attaching the joints to the ankle bones and connecting the leg to the foot. The most commonly injured component is the lateral ankle complex on the inner ankle, which is made up of the anterior talofibular, calcaneofibular, and posterior talofibular ligaments. While a sprain is one of the most common injuries to an ankle, it has one of the most extensive recovery times often with lasting pain and ankle weakness.
While cold feet or muscle spasms can be associated with a sprained ankle, the most common symptoms are localized pain, swelling, tenderness, and bruising. An inability to apply weight to the ankle and walk comfortably on the injured area are other key symptoms of a sprain.
An ankle sprain is the result of the ligament being stretched beyond its natural range of motion. This is often the result of an inward twist, a roll during physical activity, or even a misplaced step off a curb. While physical activity is the most common cause of a sprained ankle, walking on uneven surfaces, unsupportive footwear, and previous sprains can increase someone's susceptibility.
Once the ankle sprain has been diagnosed through a physical exam, treatments including immobilization, home remedies, and topical prescriptions can be used for ease of symptoms and recovery. Long-term recovery can involve the use of Theralaser therapy, injection therapy, taping, and or orthotics.