Chilton Medical Center - ATLANTIC HEALTH SYSTEM
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+)  font size
PrintEmail
Search Health Information   

Early treatment of injury
Early treatment of injury


Ankle sprain - series
Ankle sprain - series


Sprains

Definition:

A sprain is an injury to the ligaments around a joint. Ligaments are strong, flexible fibers that hold bones together. When a ligament is stretched too far or tears, the joint will become painful and swell.



Alternative Names:

Joint sprain



Causes:

Sprains are caused when a joint is forced to move into an unnatural position. For example, "twisting" one's ankle causes a sprain to the ligaments around the ankle.



Symptoms:

Symptoms of a sprain include:



First Aid:

First aid steps include:

  • Apply ice right away to reduce swelling. Wrap the ice in cloth. Do not place ice directly on the skin.
  • Wrap a bandage around the affected area to limit movement. Wrap firmly, but not tightly. Use a splint if needed.
  • Keep the swollen joint raised above your heart, even while sleeping.
  • Rest the affected joint for several days.
  • Avoid putting stress on the joint because it can make the injury worse. A sling for the arm, or crutches or a brace for the leg can protect the injury.

Aspirin, ibuprofen, or other pain relievers can help. DO NOT give aspirin to children.

Keep pressure off the injured area until the pain goes away. Most of the time, a mild sprain will heal in 7 to 10 days. It may take several weeks for pain to go away after a bad sprain. Your health care provider may recommend crutches. Physical therapy can help you regain motion and strength of the injured area.



When to Contact a Medical Professional:

Go to the hospital right away or call 911 if:

  • You think you have a broken bone .
  • The joint appears out of position.
  • You have a serious injury or severe pain.
  • You hear a popping sound and have immediate problems using the joint.

Call your provider if:

  • Swelling does not start to go away within 2 days.
  • You have symptoms of infection, including red, warm, painful skin or a fever over 100°F (38°C).
  • The pain does not go away after several weeks.


Prevention:

The following steps may lower your risk of a sprain:

  • Wear protective footwear during activities that place stress on your ankle and other joints.
  • Make sure that shoes fit your feet properly.
  • Avoid high-heeled shoes.
  • Always warm-up and stretch before doing exercise and sports.
  • Avoid sports and activities for which you have not trained.


References:

Biundo JJ. Bursitis, tendinitis, and other periarticular disorders and sports medicine. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 271.

Nakamura N, Rodeo SA, Alini M, Maher S, et al. Physiology and pathophysiology of musculoskeletal tissues. In: Miller MD, Thompson SR, eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 1.




Review Date: 5/9/2015
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Morristown Medical Center
100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5000

Overlook Medical Center
99 Beauvoir Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901
908-522-2000

Newton Medical Center
175 High Street
Newton, NJ 07860
973-383-2121

Chilton Medical Center
97 West Parkway
Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
973-831-5000

Hackettstown Medical Center
651 Willow Grove Street
Hackettstown, NJ 07840
908-852-5100

Goryeb Children's Hospital
100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5000

Atlantic Medical Group
1-800-247-9580

Morristown Medical Center

100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5000

Overlook Medical Center

99 Beauvoir Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901
908-522-2000

Newton Medical Center

175 High Street
Newton, NJ 07860
973-383-2121

Chilton Medical Center

97 West Parkway
Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
973-831-5000

Hackettstown Medical Center

651 Willow Grove Street
Hackettstown, NJ 07840
908-852-5100

Goryeb Children's Hospital

100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5000

Affiliated Providers

Atlantic Medical Group

More than 600 community-based health care providers.
1-800-247-9580

© 2016 Chilton Medical Center, 97 West Parkway, Pompton Plains, New Jersey 1-973-831-5000