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Ankle Sprain Symptoms

Ankle sprains are one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries and can have long-lasting effects on daily living and recreational activities.  Initially, ankle sprains will present with pain, swelling, bruising (bleeding under the skin), and loss of function, which can mean time off from work, without being able to stand, walk and possibly no driving depending upon the ankle that is injured.

Once taut ligaments are stretched out beyond their normal limits, they may become loose, or lax, leading to instability.  Often times, after an initial ankle sprain, the ankle will continue to feel loose or unstable for months or even years so it is very important to address an ankle sprain or strain as soon as possible.  Waiting could cause further loss of mobility and keep your from running in that 5K you have been training for the past few months.

**Physical Therapy can help you to regain stability and strength, mediate pain and decrease swelling and increase joint mobility to get you back to training for your races and functioning at your optimal level once again.**

The ankle joint consists of many bones, tendons and ligaments that play a major role on maintaining its stability.  When these structures become compromised through injury, it will likely result in ankle instability.  Ankle instability is usually a result of a ligamentous sprain, but can also come from bone fractures or tendinous injuries.  The mechanism of injury for ankle sprains, dislocations, and fractures is usually rolling or twisting of the ankle when the foot is planted on the ground, or awkwardly landing on the foot.  This can occur on a stable surface, such as a hardwood floor, or an unstable surface, such as rocks or gravel.  When someone lands on their foot and it rolls inward, this is referred to as an inversion ankle sprain.  When someone rolls their foot outward, it is called an eversion ankle sprain.  Sometimes these sprains may be associated with an avulsion fractures if there is a forceful impact, where the ligament pulls off a piece of bone when it is stretched.

Common symptoms include:

  • Restricted joint ROM (range of motion) and increased joint laxity,
  • Poor postural stability and neuromuscular control, and
  • Altered gait or abnormal movement patterns.

These prolonged symptoms that occur following an ankle sprain are known as chronic ankle instability (CAI).  Physical therapy is a great way to help control these symptoms and improve ankle ROM (range of motion), strength, and stability following an ankle injury, whether it is an acute or chronic condition.


CALL Loudoun Sports Therapy Center TODAY at 703-450-4300 to get your free evaluation.  Our Physical Therapists will develop an individualized treatment plan for your specific needs and goals.

By Michael Herbert, Jr. ATC


CLICK HERE for information on how physical therapy can help your ankle issues.