Unnatural twisting or force applied to the ankle bones in the foot can lead to ankle sprains, often resulting in one or more ligaments on the outside of the ankle being stretched, or even torn. These sprains can lead to long-term problems if not properly treated.
The primary symptoms of ankle sprains are swelling, bruising, and pain after a twist or injury to the area.
To heal properly, most ankle sprains require resting, elevating, and applying ice to the affected area to reduce swelling. Wrapping the ankle with compressive bandages to immobilize and support the ankle during healing may also help. More serious ankle sprains, often found in competitive athletes, may need surgery to repair or tighten damaged ligaments.
Exercising, stretching, and wearing shoes that fit well will help maintain foot and ankle strength, as well as maintaining balance and flexibility to help prevent ankle sprains.