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Ankle Sprains and Strains

Ankle sprains and strains are common injuries that impact athletes and non-athletes alike. They can happen by stressing a joint or overextending a ligament, such as when:

  • Walking on an uneven surface
  • Tripping, falling or landing from a jump incorrectly


Symptoms vary and often include:

  • Pain – An ankle strain and sprain can cause pain in the ankle and the area around the injury
  • Swelling – The area around the injured ligament may become swollen
  • Bruising – A sprained ligament in the ankle can present with bruising around the affected area
  • Ankle spasms – A strained muscle in the ankle may cause muscle spasms at the injury

Treatment Options

Most of the time, ankle sprains will heal after a few days of at-home care. When caring for a sprain, remember “RICE”:

  • Rest: Take a break from strenuous physical activity, including activities that cause pain or discomfort. Find things that take the weight off the ankle but keep you on the move. Bike, go for a swim, or try some simple stretching or modified yoga.
  • Ice: Use an ice pack for 15-20 minutes, and repeat every 2 hours to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Compression: Wrap the injured ankle with an elastic bandage. Be careful not to wrap the injury too tightly, and loosen if it becomes painful.
  • Elevation: Elevate your ankle above your heart to reduce swelling. Try propping your ankle on a pillow throughout the day and while sleeping.

Over-the-counter pain relief or anti-inflammatory medications may also help pain, swelling and other symptoms.

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing an ankle sprain or strain and your pain doesn't go away in a few weeks, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat ankle sprains and strains.