Ankle Sprains

Bones in the ankle joint are connected by a network of strong bands of tissue known as ligaments. When the ankle is twisted or turned beyond its normal range of motion, these ligaments can stretch and tear and becomes a sprain.

Sprains typically result after having twisted an ankle, often due to an inversion injury in which the foot rolls under the ankle or leg. This will cause a sprain on the lateral, or outside portion, of the ankle. Ankle sprains are common in athletes, but they can happen to anyone.

Ankle sprains can range from mild and moderate to severe. With severe sprains, patients can experience pain and swelling that makes it difficult to move the ankle and bear weight. Swelling may take as long as 6 to 12 months to fully resolve. Bruising on the ankle that may extend to the foot or leg is also a common sign of a sprain.

Available Treatments

Our specialists at Torrance Memorial Physician Network take a personalized approach to assessing patients, their pain, and their underlying condition. When more serious issues can be ruled out, including ankle fractures, treatment for a sprain will usually involve nonsurgical management. Surgery is not necessary for most ankle sprains, even in severe cases. However, if ligaments do not heal over time, surgical repair may be required.

Generally, treatment for an ankle sprain includes:

  • Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) for soft tissue injury treatment
  • Brace, splints, or casts
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the ankle and improve balance and proprioception
  • Exercises to be performed at home to improve range of motion and prevent stiffness

Patients who treat an ankle sprain should gradually return to physical activity and sports after they have met the following goals:

  • Full range of motion in the ankle
  • Regained muscle strength
  • No difficulties with balance
  • Exercise and activity does not cause pain or swelling
  • Use of an ankle brace in initial 3 months following a sprain is recommended

Learn More About Torrance Memorial Physician Network

If you have questions about our orthopedic and foot and ankle services, we invite you to contact us to request an appointment and learn more about our specialists and how we can help. We have three conveniently office locations.