Protecting Your Ankle from a Sprain

Protecting Your Ankle from a Sprain

Ankle sprains are the most common musculoskeletal issues treated by primary care doctors and account for almost one in three injuries seen at sports medicine practices — and that's not even counting more minor sprains that are self-treated at home. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent this widespread injury.

 At Yavapai Foot and Ankle Center in Prescott, Arizona, Dr. Todd Cox and our highly trained staff provide one-stop care for all your foot and ankle needs. Not only do we treat a wide range of ailments from bunions to nerve pain to sports injuries and more, but we are able to perform screenings, diagnostic testing, and treatment all on site for care that is fast and more budget-friendly.

Ankle sprains

An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments that work to support the ankle get stretched too much or torn. This can happen in a variety of ways like taking a misstep and twisting it, landing on it in an awkward way or encountering an obstacle such as stepping in a hole or tripping on the stairs. Often a sprain happens while participating in an athletic activity.


Symptoms of a sprained ankle can include soreness, pain, swelling, and/or bruising. Having trouble putting weight on it or walking can be another sign.

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis of a sprained ankle is often made through an exam and musculoskeletal ultrasound. Depending on how severe the injury is, treatment may include anything from resting, elevating the ankle, and taking oral anti-inflammatory medication to wearing a compression bandage, splint, walking boot, or cast. Some people may also need to use crutches or go to physical therapy. Severe injuries may require surgery.


While treatments are available, the best course of action is to reduce the possibility of an injury in the first place. Tips include:

Practice good ankle health

Keep the ankles flexible and strong by stretching regularly and doing range of motion and strengthening exercises. Be sure to always warm up before participating in physical activities. Increase the amount of exercise time and intensity over multiple weeks to gradually improve stamina. Cross train by practicing different kinds of activities to aid in building muscles.

Get proper support

Support the ankles by using tape, wearing lace-up ankle braces or donning high-top shoes. In addition, select shoes that fit correctly and make sure laces are tied and straps are closed tightly to encourage the best support possible. Be sure to replace shoes when the tread or heels get worn down.

Avoid red flags

Walking or running on cracked or uneven ground can result in an injury. Wearing high heels can also be problematic.

Listen to your body

Stop or take a break when you're tired. Overdoing physical activity can result in an accident and injury.

If you have suffered an ankle injury, it's important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Call our office at 928-445-4898 or click here to book an appointment today.

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