Sprained Ankle Specialist

Madison Advanced Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle Surgery & Podiatry located in Madison, WI

Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries, affecting people of all ages. Fellowship-trained foot and ankle surgeon Colin Graney, DPM, provides expert care for sprained ankles at Madison Advanced Foot & Ankle in Madison, Wisconsin. If you think you have a sprained ankle, call or book an appointment online today.

Sprained Ankle Q & A

What is an ankle sprain?

Sprains involve damage to a ligament, which is a strong band of tissue that connects bone to bone. An ankle sprain happens when one of the ligaments around your ankle stretches beyond its means and subsequently tears.

Ankle sprains range in severity depending on how badly the ligament is damaged. A mild sprain happens when there are microscopic tears in the ligament fibers. Moderate and severe sprains involve partial or complete tears in the ligament. 

When a ligament in your ankle tears in a moderate or severe sprain, the joint becomes very unstable. Without treatment, this can lead to bone and cartilage damage in your ankle.

What causes ankle sprains?

Ankle sprains happen when you twist or roll your foot beyond its typical range of motion. You can sprain your ankle during almost any activity, including walking down the stairs. People who play sports that involve cutting actions or rolling and twisting your foot, like soccer and trail running, may be at higher risk for sprained ankles.

How do I know if my ankle is sprained?

Signs and symptoms of a sprained ankle vary depending on the severity of your injury, but they often include:

  • Ankle pain or tenderness
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Ankle instability
  • Restricted range of motion

If you tear a ligament, you may experience a popping sound or sensation at the time of injury. Severe ankle sprains have similar signs and symptoms as a broken bone and require prompt treatment.

How are sprained ankles diagnosed and treated?

First, your provider carefully examines your foot and ankle. They may gently press different areas around your ankle to determine which ligament is sprained. They may also take an X-ray to rule out a broken bone.

Then, your provider recommends the best course of treatment for your particular condition. Most sprained ankles improve without surgery, even when the ligament is completely torn. Nonsurgical treatment for a sprained ankle includes:

  • Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (the RICE protocol)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Immobilization in a brace or cast
  • Physical therapy

Ankle sprains that are especially severe or don’t respond to nonsurgical treatment may require surgery. Dr. Graney and Mary Hicker are fellowship-trained foot and ankle surgeons.

If you have symptoms of an ankle sprain, call Madison Advanced Foot & Ankle as soon as possible. You can also book an appointment online today.