What is an ankle sprain?

Ligaments are strong fibrous tissues that connect bone to bone. They hold joints together and stabilise them. Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments supporting the bones of the ankle joint stretch or tear.

They usually occur when the foot twists or rolls with sudden or unexpected movement, such as during sports or walking on uneven surfaces. Ankle sprains most commonly occur on the outside of the ankle when the lateral ligaments are damaged. Injury can range from grade 1 microtears in the tissue to grade 3 complete ruptures.

A poor sense of positioning of the body (proprioception) or a foot that turns inwards naturally increases the risk of an ankle sprain occurring. A history of repeated ankle sprains also further increases the risk of repeat sprains and can lead to long-term problems such as ankle instability, chronic pain, and arthritis.

Ankle Sprains


Signs and Symptoms

  • Pain around the ankle
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Limited motion of the ankle
  • Popping sound or sensation at the time of injury
  • Instability of the ankle joint

Latest Research Links:

Developing consensus on clinical assessment of acute lateral ankle sprain injuries: protocol for an international and multidisciplinary modified Delphi process

Kinematic analysis of a televised medial ankle sprain


Article by Kardem Kiter, specialist podiatrist at Family Podiatry Centre.

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