All ankle sprains produce some level of pain at the time of the injury. The joint will also feel tender and begin to swell. If the sprain is mild, you may experience very little loss of joint function and may not fall when the injury occurs. You may also be able to walk on the injured ankle without much discomfort. The joint will probably lose some of its stability, however, and feel loose.
Other symptoms of a sprained ankle include:
- mild to severe pain at the time of injury
- sometimes, a feeling of popping or tearing in the ankle at the time of injury
- swelling and/or bruising at the injured joint
- mild to severe loss of the ability to move or put pressure on the joint
With a more serious sprain, you will likely fall at the time of injury. You will also find it difficult, if not impossible, to move or put weight on the injured ankle. Bruising will also appear, and swelling may spread from the ankle to the foot and perhaps to the lower calf.
Participating in certain sports--those in which you are likely to jump and accidentally land on the side of your foot--increases your risk of spraining your ankle. These sports include basketball, tennis, skiing, soccer, volleyball, and distance and high jumping.
Running or walking on rough, uneven surfaces also increases your risk; especially if you are wearing shoes with insufficient support to protect your ankle should you accidentally twist it.
If you have high-arched or flat feet, you are more susceptible to ankle sprains.
In addition, your risk of spraining your ankle increases if you have had earlier sprains or other ankle injuries that may have weakened the joint.
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