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What is a Sprained Ankle?

If you’ve twisted your ankle, you probably know to say it’s sprained and needs rest. But you might not have a clear idea on what, exactly, a sprain is, or how long you should be resting for. The good news is that sprained ankles are one of the most common injuries we treat at Knoxville Footcare, and most people recover well. But since sprains may be severe or made worse if not cared for properly, we wanted to discuss why it’s important to have them examined professionally.


A sprain is an injury to ligaments. These fibrous bands link bones together, and although they are somewhat elastic, they can be overstretched. When injured, they would fray or fail to fully bounce back, resulting in instability in their connecting bones. If a person’s ankle gets turned too far, it will typically be the ones on the outside of the foot that get sprained. This can happen if someone falls on an uneven surface or lands badly from a jump. As a result, the ankle would swell, feel tender, bruise, and possibly make a popping sound at the moment of injury.


In the short-term, potentially sprained ankles should be treated according to RICE protocol (rest, ice, compress, elevate). However, resting an ankle too much will allow the leg muscles to atrophy and slow its recovery. If the ligament is completely torn, it will not be able to heal on its own, and if a bone is fractured, it may heal mishapenly. At our office, we can diagnose the severity of a strain through imaging and tactile tests, fit the patient for a protective brace, and devise a rehabilitative exercise regimen. Recovery may take between two to twelve weeks, and patients will be able to move their affected foot up and down before they are able to rotate it. We may also switch out fitted braces as a patient’s recovery improves.


Knoxville Footcare is located at 1932 Alcoa Highway Building C, Suite 480, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37920. Visit us at Knoxville Footcare or call 865-632-5700.

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