Your ankle is supported by ligaments, which are fibrous bands of tissue that connect two or more bones in a joint. And while the ligaments in your ankle are strong and flexible, they can tear or stretch if pushed beyond their limits, such as during a fall or awkward step. This injury is called a sprained ankle.

Sprains range in severity, and a mild sprain may only cause a day or two of mild pain. But while a mild sprain might feel fine quickly, that doesn’t mean it’s fully healed. Injuries like these need to be treated properly, because serious problems can result if the right care is not given.

In fact, about 20% of people who sprain their ankles go on to develop chronic ankle instability. Chronic ankle instability can bring ongoing ankle pain and joint weakness.

To lower your risk of suffering chronic ankle instability and future sprains, you should take care of your sprained ankle the right way. David B. Glover, DPM, FACFAS, and our team at Mountain View Foot & Ankle Institute provide personalized care for people of all ages with ankle sprains, and we’re here to help your ankle heal properly.

Causes and symptoms of a sprained ankle

At the time of your sprain, you’ll probably notice sharp pain in your ankle. You may hear an audible popping sound or feel your ankle give way. A few of the most common situations that cause ankle sprains are the following:

  • Falling
  • Missing a step on the stairs
  • Repetitive movement while wearing improper footwear
  • Sports injury
  • Traumatic injury, such as getting your foot trapped under an object

During and immediately after the injury, you may feel throbbing pain in your ankle. In the days following the injury, you may notice other symptoms developing, such as:

  • Bruising
  • Joint stiffness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Swelling

If you suffer a severe sprain, you might not be able to stand on the affected ankle. Severe sprains may make your ankle feel very weak and unstable.

Treating and caring for a sprained ankle

The symptoms of a sprained ankle are usually difficult to ignore, and you shouldn’t wait to go to the doctor. Even if you think you have a mild sprain, a podiatric exam can ensure a proper diagnosis, so you can get the care you need. Depending on your situation, Dr. Glover may recommend any of the following:


Many sprains will heal with at-home care, but it’s important to know what you need to do. Dr. Glover and our team often recommend resting and staying off the ankle for several days. We may also tell you to apply ice throughout the day to reduce inflammation and pain.


Depending on the severity of your sprain, we may prescribe pain medication. We may also recommend bracing, casting, or compression wrapping to help stabilize your ankle as you return to your usual activities.

Physical therapy

We also typically recommend physical therapy following ankle sprains. Rebuilding strength through rehabilitation can help lower your risk of developing chronic ankle instability and can help ensure that your ankle heals as well as possible.


If a ligament has a severe tear, or if you risk suffering ankle instability, Dr. Glover may recommend surgery. Dr. Glover uses arthroscopic surgery, which is minimally invasive. This type of surgery limits the amount of cutting and blood loss, which usually allows for faster recovery times than traditional surgery.

Proper care can help restore strength to the ligaments in your ankles. With a personalized recovery plan, you can be confident that your ankle will heal well and that you’ll have a lower risk of suffering complications in the future.

Do you have a sprained ankle? Don’t just hope it heals on its own. Get professional care at Mountain View Foot & Ankle Institute. To learn more, call 801-614-2996 or book an appointment online today.