Ankle Sprains

By Drew Heideman, MPT, ATC, PES

JOI Can Help Treat Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains occur when the strong ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits and tear. They are common injuries that occur among people of all ages. The sprains range from mild to severe, depending upon how much damage there is to the ligaments. Most sprained ankles occur in the lateral ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Sprains can range from tiny tears in the fibers that make up the ligament to complete tears through the tissue. If there is a complete tear of the ligaments, the ankle may become unstable after the initial injury phase passes. Over time, this instability can result in damage to the bones and cartilage of the ankle joint.



Ankles sprains or Torn Ligaments in the foot

Image of the Ankle Joint 

Causes of Ankle Sprains

Your foot can twist unexpectedly during many different activities, such as:

  • walking or exercising on an uneven surface
  • participating in sports that require cutting actions or rolling and twisting of the foot
  • someone stepping on your foot while you are running, causing your foot to twist or roll to the side
  • poor balance or proprioception
  • participation in athletic activities that require running and cutting.
  • a previous history of an ankle sprain.  The ligaments may already be loose from the previous sprain.
  • not wearing the correct shoe or a shoe that does not provide enough support for the ankle joint.
  • not wearing an ankle brace
  • change or surfaces or uneven surfaces may contribute to a sprain.
  • fatigue or poor endurance may predispose someone to a sprain.
Illustration of an Ankle Sprain which is a type of Soft tissue Injury. JOI Rehab

Illustration of Ankle Sprain

Symptoms of a Sprained Ankle

If there is severe tearing of the ligaments, you might also hear or feel a “pop” when the sprain occurs. Symptoms of a severe sprain are similar to those of a broken bone and require prompt medical evaluation. A sprained ankle is painful. Other symptoms may include:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising and discoloration
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Instability of the ankle
  • Pain with weight bearing and pain with inversion and eversion of the ankle

A majority of sprains are minor injuries that heal with home treatments like rest and applying ice and compression to reduce the pain and swelling. However, if your ankle is extremely swollen and painful to walk on — or if you are having trouble putting weight on your ankle at all, be sure to see an orthopedic doctor. Without proper treatment and rehabilitation, a more severe sprain can weaken your ankle—making it more likely that you will injure it again. Repeated ankle sprains can lead to long-term problems, including:

  • Chronic ankle pain
  • Arthritis
  • Ongoing instability

It is so important that you wear a supportive ankle brace if you have had a history of ankle sprains.  Here is an example of a good ankle brace.

Image of ankle brace

Image of ankle brace

How To Treat Ankle Pain With JOI Physical Therapy

When treating patients for ankle pain, JOI Rehab clinicians will commonly focus on range-of-motion with active and passive mobility exercises. Another form of therapy is strength training. This will help with stability of the ankle. Balance position sense is another key factor in treating ankle pain and preventing patients from losing their sense of balance due to ankle injuries. Different pairs of shoes may also help with healing ankle pains. Lastly and perhaps most importantly is keeping up with your health. Weight loss and a healthy BMI are always recommended in the treatment of ankle pain. Want to learn more about the anatomy of the foot or the foot ligaments? Go to foot anatomy

JOI Rehab Ankle Exercises

Ankle Exercises Picture

Related Video: Basic Ankle Ankle Exercises Video 

To learn more about Direct Access to Physical Therapy without seeing an MD, please read this ARTICLE.

JOI and JOI Rehab

JOI Physicians continue to offer online new patient appointments. This is another option to make it more convenient to make new patient appointments with less phone hold times. Follow the link below to select your JOI MD and schedule online.

You can still call 904-JOI-2000 to make new patient JOI Physician Appointments if that is your preference.  A new option, you can now schedule and cancel follow-up appointments with your physician at the JOI Patient Portal. 

To make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.

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By: Drew Heideman, MPT, ATC, PES

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