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What are ankle sprains?

Image for feet with red mark indicating pain at Achilles tendon.

An ankle sprain is an injury to one or more ligaments in the ankle, usually on the outside of the ankle. Ligaments are bands of tissue (like rubber bands) that connect one bone to another and bind the joints together. In the ankle joint, ligaments provide stability by limiting side-to-side movement.


Some ankle sprains are much worse than others. The severity of an ankle sprain depends on whether the ligament is stretched, partially torn or completely torn, as well as on the number of ligaments involved. Ankle sprains are not the same as strains, which affect muscles rather than ligaments.


Diagram of healthy and damaged ankle
image: mayoclinic.org

Signs and symptoms of an ankle sprain:

  • 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


Would you like to be seen by a North Shore Podiatry physician?

Make an appointment at one of our locations today!


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