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Ankle sprain

An ankle sprain is an injury to the ankle whereby one or more of the ligaments that support the ankle joint have been overstretched or torn.

What is an ankle sprain?

An ankle sprain describes a painful injury to the ligaments of the ankle, which have been over stretched or torn. The ligaments on the outside of the ankle are the most susceptible to being sprained, which can happen when a person 'goes over' on their ankle. However, the ligaments on the inside of the ankle may also be sprained.

What causes an ankle sprain?

An ankle sprain can happen to anyone, however, some people are more susceptible to an ankle sprain than others, for example those who:

  • Participate in certain sports
  • Walk/run on uneven ground
  • Wear unsuitable footwear
  • Have ankle instability (loose ligaments in the ankle)

What are the signs and symptoms of an ankle sprain?

The signs and symptoms of an ankle sprain include:

  • Pain in the ankle which may be described as throbbing. The pain associated with a sprained ankle is worse when the ankle is moved, particularly when standing and walking
  • Swelling and redness
  • The ankle will feel warm to touch

How is an ankle sprain diagnosed?

A podiatrist here at will diagnose a sprained ankle based on a thorough history, the signs and symptoms and an examination of the ankle joint. If the diagnosis is unclear you may be referred for an X-ray in order to rule out a fracture.

What would podiatry for ankle sprain involve?

A visit to would begin by obtaining a thorough history, which would include a medical history as well as a detailed account of the injury itself, and whether or not you have suffered any previous ankle injury or sprains. The history would then be followed by an examination of the ankle, followed by a biomechanical assessment. The purpose of the biomechanical assessment would be to assess the function of the foot and lower limb, which if not functioning correctly could be making you more susceptible to an ankle sprain.

If a fracture of the ankle is suspected you may be referred for an X-ray.

The pain associated with an ankle sprain is due to inflammation, the aim of treatment is to therefore reduce any inflammation and to improve the function of the foot in order to prevent future sprains. The treatment for an ankle sprain includes:

  • R.I.C.E: rest, ice, compression, elevation
  • Anti-inflammatory advice
  • Orthoses


An ankle sprain describes an injury to the ankle whereby one or more of the ligaments that support the ankle joint are either stretched or torn. If you have an ankle sprain you will experience pain at the ankle, particularly when standing and walking. The pain associated with an ankle sprain is due to inflammation. Podiatry can help alleviate the painful symptoms of an ankle sprain by supporting the ligaments with an orthotic, as well as providing advice and information on how to reduce any inflammation.

To arrange an assessment with one our podiatrists please email or call 0330 088 4222.

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