Most ankle sprains occur when the foot is suddenly turned inward, tearing the outside ligaments. Sprains of the ligament group on the inside of the ankle are less common because it is less likely for the foot to be forced outward and because inside ligaments are stronger.
A mild sprain occurs when there is minimal force with only slight stretching or of the ligament group. Pain and swelling are
minor; walking is generally possible.
Treatment: Often, ankle elevation and an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling are all that is necessary.
A moderate sprain occurs when a ligament group is partially torn.
Pain, swelling and bruising are greater; walking may be difficult.
Treatment: Immobilisation of the ankle in a stirrup ankle brace, splint, elastic bandage, or cast may be necessary to ensure proper healing of torn ligaments. Ice may help reduce swelling; pain relievers may be prescribed by your doctor. As with all sprains, elevation of the foot above heart level is on of the best ways to reduce pain and swelling.
In a severe sprain, a ligament group can be completely torn; pain and swelling are immediate and obvious. Bruising can appear on both sides of the ankle and bones may be chipped or broken.
Treatment: The severely sprained ankle needs to be immobilised by a splint, cast or knee-high walker for up to six weeks for a proper healing of the injured ligament group or bones. In certain instances, surgery may be needed. Your doctor can tell you how long your ankle will be immobilised, when you’ll be able to bear weight on your ankle, and whether crutches will be necessary.