Categories: Orthopaedics

Ankle pain and sprain

Ankle sprains are a common injury that people face after a fall, accident, and sudden damage to the ankle joint. It thus causes ankle pain. Approximately 50 per cent of people who suffer from an ankle sprain will experience chronic ankle pain, even after being treated from their injury. An ankle sprain is an injury of the ligaments that connect the bones of the foot and leg. It happens when you are accidentally twisting or mistakenly turning your ankle in an awkward way — this causes stretching of the ligaments in your ankle bones and causes pain.

In patients with an ankle sprain, there are more severe injuries of peroneal tendons, ruptures, including tears. Peroneal tendon injuries suddenly develop with time. It is most common among athletes because they require repetitive movement of the ankle. Ankle sprains can happen to anyone, especially to those participating in sports, wearing inappropriate footwear, or even walking on uneven surfaces.


Ankle sprain develops due to some accidental or unacquainted movement of the ankle bone or any part connecting to it. Below are the major causes of developing ankle sprain:-

  • Unexpected movement.
  • Ligament deposition around the ankle.
  • Twisting of the ankle.
  • Improper stepping on your foot.
  • Stretching of the ligament.
  • Weakness in leg bones.

Some significant causes that help in causing ankle sprain are:

  • Sudden twisting – When accidentally, your feet get twisted, it creates an ankle sprain, and you feel the pain.
  • Force to move – If somebody holds your feet and forces the ankle joint to move from its normal position, your ankle get sprains.
  • Improper landing – While doing a jump or stepping down, if you land in an irrelevant way may also twist your foot after and cause ankle sprains.
  • Stepping on your foot – During a sports or by any means, if a person mistakenly steps on your feet, then due to sudden pressure on the feet, it will twist and cause an ankle sprain.
  • Damaged tendons – If the cartilage or blood vessels due to fracture in bones are not correctly functioning because of some internal body processes, you have chances of an ankle sprain.
  • Playing Sports – Sportspersons are more likely to get ankle sprain while doing sports activities like jumping, contraction twisting of the foot. They even get a strain while playing sports such as tennis, football, soccer, basketball, etc.
  • Eversion ankle sprain – When the foot gets twisted, the inner (deltoid) ligament stretches and begins to tear. This eversion ankle sprain produces pain in the ankle joint.

Sign and Symptoms:

Common symptoms that the patient may face while ankle pain and sprain are due to relative movement of feet. Few symptoms are:

  • Inability to hold weight on the affected ankle.
  • Pain behind the ankle bone.
  • Swelling around the ankle.
  • Pain behind the ankle bone.
  • Pain transmission from the ankle down into the foot.
  • Skin discoloration on ankle part or stiffness.

Prevention and treatment:

  • Physical methods – Wearing a brace if necessary and performing strengthening exercises, sometimes wrapping the affected ankle in an elastic bandage also helps in the treatment of ankle sprain.
  • Primary prevention – Avoiding high heels and doing a warm-up before exercising, also paying attention to surfaces you’re walking and slowing your footsteps.
  • Home treatments – It includes using elastic bandages available in the home to wrap the ankle not too tightly and support your ankle by wearing a brace and using crutches if needed.
  • Sleep care – Taking rest or at the time of sleep elevates your foot with pillows as necessary to reduce swelling.
  • Drugs – Taking NSAID drugs like Ibuprofen (Advil) and  Acetaminophen (Tylenol) to relieve pain.
  • Arthroscopy – During an arthroscopy, the surgeon looks inside the joint to analyse if there are any loose fragments of bone or cartilage.
  • Reconstruction – For reconstruction surgery, a surgeon repairs the ligaments with stitches. They also use other tendons or ligaments.
  • Rest – Taking proper rest, limits swelling, and inflammation. It also helps to prevent further injury to the ankle joint.

Dr. Indranil Biswas, Consultant – Orthopaedics | Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Barasat

Narayana Health

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