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An ankle sprain is a common injury that results from twisting or turning the ankle past its normal range of motion. This causes stretching or tearing of the ligaments (the band of tissue that connects bones at the joint) that support the ankle.
Sprains can be caused by twisting an ankle either inverted (ankle rolls inward) or everted (ankle rolls outward). The injury may occur during a sport, while walking or during any physical activity.
An ankle sprain is a common sports injury often seen in sports that require sharp, sudden twisting of the foot, such as soccer, basketball, football and tennis. Performing activities on an uneven surface (such as trail running) increase the risk of an ankle sprain.
Ways to prevent ankle sprains include:
Symptoms can include:
The experts at the Sports Medicine Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado diagnose an ankle sprain by reviewing your child’s complete history and performing a physical exam on the ankle. In addition, ankle x-rays may be taken to rule out fractures and other complications.
Sprains are usually graded as I, II or III depending on the severity:
At Children’s Hospital Colorado, ankle sprains are treated using the P.R.I.C.E. model for the first few days following the injury and as needed while recovering.
Your physician will determine if formal physical therapy is needed for the patient to properly recover and safely return to sports. Stretches and exercises will be advised to help increase range of motion and restore strength to the joint. Your physician or physical therapist will release the patient to perform full activities once he or she has full range of motion of the ankle, minimal pain, full strength and can fully perform sport-specific skills. Learn more about our Sports Medicine Program for Young Athletes that treats sprained ankles.