Sprained Ankle

Overview

What Is a Sprained Ankle

Your ligaments are bands of tissue that join your bones together, like your foot to the bottom part of your leg. A sprained ankle happens when one or more ligaments in your ankle stretch in an abnormal way, causing small tears.

A sprained ankle can strike at any time. But at Aurora Health Care, you won’t have sit out for long. We offer convenient access to sports medicine experts, including same-day appointments. Our team delivers treatments like supportive bracing and physical therapy to help you get back on your feet.

The Aurora Difference

Expert Sprained Ankle Care

At Aurora, our sports medicine experts help top athletes, including the Milwaukee Admirals hockey team, have a safe and healthy season. We provide the same level of care to active people throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Care that fits your busy schedule: We make it easy to get a quick and accurate diagnosis. Free injury evaluations with an Aurora physical therapist or licensed athletic trainer are often available within one business day. Get sports health care.
  • Specialized care for complex sprains: On rare occasions, a sprained ankle doesn’t heal as it should. In these cases, our primary care sports medicine doctors offer a broad range of nonsurgical treatments, including orthotics – special devices placed in your shoe to improve stability and prevent further injury. Learn more about custom foot orthotics.
  • Services to prevent re-injury: Our strength and conditioning program helps you bounce back from a sprained ankle stronger than ever. We help you improve leg and ankle strength so you can remain steady on your feet, even during intense activity. Read more about our strength training program.

Symptoms

Signs of a Sprained Ankle

A sprained ankle happens when you twist your foot or land on it in an awkward way. Some sprains are mild, while others can make it difficult to go about your daily activities.

Common symptoms of a sprained ankle include:

  • Swelling
  • Pain that gets worse over time
  • A “popping” sensation
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty standing on your foot
  • Weakness

Diagnosis

Tests & Imaging For a Sprained Ankle

We’re often able to diagnose a sprained ankle with a physical exam.

During the exam, an Aurora doctor, physical therapist or athletic trainer will:

  • Listen carefully as you describe the symptoms and events that led up to the injury
  • Gently touch and move the ankle to determine how serious the sprain is and how many tendons are affected
  • Order any needed imaging tests – like an X-ray – to check for broken bones

Find out more about orthopedic diagnosis.

Treatment

Treating a Sprained Ankle

In most cases, a sprained ankle can heal on its own with noninvasive treatments. These treatments may include over-the-counter pain medications, a supportive brace to protect your ankle as it heals, and physical therapy.

Our physical therapists can help you avoid re-injury and plan a gradual return to your favorite activities. This plan may include exercises to improve flexibility and range of motion. Find out more about orthopedic physical therapy.

Get a Free Injury Evaluation

We get to the source of the pain and offer personalized care recommendations.

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We offer sports injury care throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

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