An ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments (non-contractile bands of tissue) that hold your ankle bones together. Damage to the ligaments occurs when you roll, twist or turn your ankle in an awkward way. This can stretch and/or tear these ligaments.
Ligaments help stabilize joints, preventing excessive movement. A sprained ankle occurs when the ligaments are forced beyond their normal range of motion. Most sprained ankles involve injuries to the ligaments on the lateral (outside) aspect of the ankle.
Signs and symptoms of a sprained ankle vary depending on the severity of the injury. They may include: pain, especially when you bear weight on the affected foot; tenderness when you touch the ankle; swelling; bruising; restricted range of motion; instability in the ankle; popping sensation or sound at the time of injury. Although self-care measures and over-the- counter pain medications may be all you need, a medical evaluation might be necessary to reveal how badly you’ve sprained your ankle and to determine the appropriate treatment.