Treatment of ankle sprains and strains

Ankle ligament injuries are typical sports injuries, often seen in basketball, ice hockey and football players and runners, for instance. Ankle sprains and dislocations are usually caused by the ankle being twisted inwards. It is recommended that you seek medical help if an ankle sprain causes significant swelling, pain when you stand or tenderness in the bones.

When the ankle is twisted inwards, the ligaments around the ankle joints are stretched or partly torn. In some cases, the twisting may also result in fractures, cartilage and bone damage (talar cartilage damage) or tendon injuries (peroneus and tibialis posterior).

A sprained ankle is sore, and the outer side of the ankle may be swollen. Depending on the extent of the injury, sharp pain, visible swelling and bruises may also occur. The pain and stiffness make it difficult to move normally.

Most ankle sprains are treated conservatively, without surgery. However, this does not mean that they should not be treated.

Elevation, ice packs and compression are used as first aid. Elevation means lifting the leg at a 45-degree angle and thereby placing the foot higher than the heart. Cold reduces internal bleeding. Compression means wrapping an elastic bandage around the ankle to minimise swelling.