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An ankle sprain is caused by the stretching or tearing of the ligaments that connect the bones in the foot, ankle, and lower leg. It is a common injury among athletes, particularly in football, basketball, and soccer, as these sports require constant cutting and pivoting.
Ankle sprains may be common, but they are avoidable with the proper precautions. Recognizing the risks and taking preventative measures helps to keep athletes healthy and enjoying their favorite physical activities.
What is an ankle sprain?
An ankle sprain is a stretch injury of the ligaments that support the ankle. A lateral ankle sprain, which frequently occurs when the ankle is twisted inward, is a stretch injury to the ligaments in the outer part of the ankle. When the ankle is twisted outward, the injury is called a high ankle sprain, which is a stretch injury to the ligaments that hold the tibia and fibula together in the lower leg.
How is an ankle sprain treated?
The initial treatment method is RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). Severe injuries may require an athlete to wear a walking boot to help support the ankle. The goal of this treatment method is to reduce pain and swelling and to restore strength, motion, flexibility, and balance.
How can an ankle sprain be prevented?
Wearing a brace or taping the ankle can help prevent injury and reinjury. Braces with straps or ties generally provide greater support.
Exercises aimed at strengthening the ankle and increasing the joint’s flexibility are also helpful in injury prevention. Coaches and health providers can work with athletes to develop individualized ankle exercise programs fit for their needs and activity levels.
For questions about ankle injuries or injuries associated with sports, call (877) 460-0453 to consult with a doctor at Heartland Orthopedic Specialists or call (320) 295-7722 to speak with an athletic trainer.