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Ankle sprain is the most common injury to present in a sports medicine practice.

Although some signs and symptoms can be used to assess the severity of a sprain, the most definitive method is with the use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

Sprains are graded in four degrees. A first degree ankle sprain has only minor tearing of the ligament whereas a forth degree sprain is characterized by complete rupture.

Signs and symptoms

The typical signs and symptoms associated with an ankle sprain are the cardinal signs of inflammation:

  • localized pain
  • swelling
  • loss of function


Ankle sprains can best be prevented by proper use of safety equipment (eg. ankle guards), warm-ups and cool-downs (including stretching), being aware of your surroundings and maintaining strength and flexibility.


The first modality for a sprain is R.I.C.E.:

Rest: Stop all activities which cause pain to the sprained area.

Ice: Apply icing to the area several times a day, but never for more than 10-15 minutes at a time. Protect the skin while preventing the swelling.

Compression: Wrap the sprained area to reduce swelling. Cold water will do also.

Elevation: Keep the sprained area as close to the level of the heart as is conveniently possible.

The ice and compression (cold compression therapy) will stop the pain and swelling while the injury starts to heal. Controlling the swelling and inflammation is critical to the healing process and the cold further restricts fluid leaking into the injured area as well as controlling pain.

Source: wikipedia GFDL


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