Never Ignore an Ankle Sprain and Make It Worse

3 min read

You are out for an evening stroll after dinner.  It’s a beautiful evening; the sun is setting, the temperature is perfect, and you are having a lovely time.  Then you step on a crack in the pavement and twist your ankle.  The pain is surprisingly intense.

You decide that you should go to the A & E dept, and have an x-ray to make sure that your ankle isn’t broken.  After hours in there, the doctor comes back and tells you that your ankle isn’t broken; it’s just a sprain.

You go home and rest the ankle, but it continues to hurt for days or even weeks.  This makes a person wonder, just how severe is a sprained ankle?  It’s just a sprain, after all.  Right?  Well, a sprain may not require a cast, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a serious injury.  All that this means is that the bone itself is not fractured.  However, one or more of the ligaments may be torn completely or partially.

The feet are very complicated.  There are 26 bones in each foot, which means that more than 25% of the bones in the entire body are located in the feet.  In addition, there are many ligaments, tendons, and muscles that are involved.  If the ankle is sprained, there may be additional damage to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that surround the ankle.

When an ankle becomes sprained, fluid leaks from the blood vessels into the tissue surrounding the ankle.  The flow of blood to the area, particularly white blood cells, increases.  The area will become swollen and inflamed.  The nerves in the region become more sensitive, which is why you experience pain in that area.  The area may also look red and feel warm.  It may become difficult to move the joint or use that foot.

Ankle sprains are classified by three grades.  The grades vary based on the number of ligaments damaged and the severity of damage to the ligaments.

  • A grade one sprain involves mild damage to the ligament without joint instability.
  • A grade two sprain indicates a partial tear and loosening of the ligament.
  • A grade three sprain indicates a complete tear of the ligament with instability of the joint.

If you twist, roll, or otherwise injure your ankle, it is a good idea to have an x-ray performed to check it out.  This will help your doctor to determine what, exactly, is wrong and prescribe the proper course of treatment.

If you have an ankle sprain, you can begin to treat it using the RICE method, which is commonly recommended by doctors for the treatment of soft tissue injuries like ankle sprains.


The acronym RICE represents the four important steps that you should take to treat a sprain:  rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

Rest the affected area, and reduce your activity until the pain has subsided.  Apply ice packs for about twenty minutes at a time, several times a day.  You can add a bit of rubbing alcohol to a plastic bag filled with crushed ice to make your own ice pack.

Use compression by applying a compression wrap bandage to the joint.  This helps to reduce swelling in the ankle.  Elevate the foot by propping it up on a stack of pillows.  Ideally, the foot should be at a higher level than your heart.

If you have experienced an ankle sprain, it may be that your footwear is not providing adequate support, making you more prone to injury.  You can visit Foot Solutions UK in your area to find appropriate footwear that will protect your feet from injury.