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Sprained Ankle

A common medical condition where one or more of the ligaments of the ankle is torn or partially torn.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: Wikipedia)

About Sprained Ankles

If you twist your ankle, it may swell up and hurt. This is usually a sign that the ankle is sprained. In other words, one or more ligaments of the ankle and the surrounding tissue are injured.

Ligaments are tough elastic bands of connective tissue that join bones in the joint to each other. Because the ankle joint is made up of many bones, there are also several ligaments that stabilize it.

Symptoms

Ankle sprains are among the most common of injuries. When an ankle is twisted, the ligaments are overstretched. In the worst case, they might tear. Small blood vessels tear too, which is what causes the swelling around the ankle... Read more about Sprained Ankle

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Surgery versus conservative treatment for acute ankle sprains in adults

Ankle sprain is one of the commonest musculoskeletal injuries in active people. It generally involves damage to the lateral or outer ligaments, which connect bones together on the outside of the ankle joint. Treatment is usually either immobilisation of the leg in a plaster cast, or 'functional treatment' where the ankle is kept in use while protected by an external support. After treatment, however, some people still have a weak and sometimes painful ankle. This review aimed to find out if primary surgical repair of the torn ligament(s) gives a better result than either of these two non‐surgical or conservative treatments.

Therapeutic ultrasound for acute ankle sprains

Ultrasound, or the use of high frequency sound pulses, is used for treating acute ankle sprains. It is thought that the increase in temperature caused by ultrasound helps soft tissue healing. The review aimed to look at the evidence from studies testing the use of ultrasound in clinical practice. Six trials were included in the review. Poor reporting of trial methods made it difficult to assess the risk of bias of the included studies. The six trials involved a total of 606 participants with acute ankle sprains of relatively short duration. Five trials compared ultrasound therapy with sham ultrasound (machine turned off). Three of the six trials included single comparisons of ultrasound with three other treatments. The main results were from the review of the five placebo‐controlled trials (sham ultrasound). These found that ultrasound therapy does not seem to enhance recovery or help to reduce pain and swelling after an ankle sprain, or improve the ability to stand on the affected foot and ankle. Most ankle sprains heal quickly. While ultrasound may still improve recovery in a small way, this potential benefit is probably too small to be important.

Acupuncture for sudden‐onset ankle sprains in adults

An acute ankle sprain is a sudden‐onset injury of the ankle ligaments (tough strands of tissue that connect and stabilise the bones at the ankle). It is one of the most common injuries in the general population as well as in athletes. Acupuncture is frequently used for treating ankle sprains in eastern Asian countries. This review aimed to assess the benefits and harms of acupuncture for the treatment of ankle sprains in adults. We searched the medical literature for studies up to May 2013.

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Summaries for consumers

Surgery versus conservative treatment for acute ankle sprains in adults

Ankle sprain is one of the commonest musculoskeletal injuries in active people. It generally involves damage to the lateral or outer ligaments, which connect bones together on the outside of the ankle joint. Treatment is usually either immobilisation of the leg in a plaster cast, or 'functional treatment' where the ankle is kept in use while protected by an external support. After treatment, however, some people still have a weak and sometimes painful ankle. This review aimed to find out if primary surgical repair of the torn ligament(s) gives a better result than either of these two non‐surgical or conservative treatments.

Therapeutic ultrasound for acute ankle sprains

Ultrasound, or the use of high frequency sound pulses, is used for treating acute ankle sprains. It is thought that the increase in temperature caused by ultrasound helps soft tissue healing. The review aimed to look at the evidence from studies testing the use of ultrasound in clinical practice. Six trials were included in the review. Poor reporting of trial methods made it difficult to assess the risk of bias of the included studies. The six trials involved a total of 606 participants with acute ankle sprains of relatively short duration. Five trials compared ultrasound therapy with sham ultrasound (machine turned off). Three of the six trials included single comparisons of ultrasound with three other treatments. The main results were from the review of the five placebo‐controlled trials (sham ultrasound). These found that ultrasound therapy does not seem to enhance recovery or help to reduce pain and swelling after an ankle sprain, or improve the ability to stand on the affected foot and ankle. Most ankle sprains heal quickly. While ultrasound may still improve recovery in a small way, this potential benefit is probably too small to be important.

Acupuncture for sudden‐onset ankle sprains in adults

An acute ankle sprain is a sudden‐onset injury of the ankle ligaments (tough strands of tissue that connect and stabilise the bones at the ankle). It is one of the most common injuries in the general population as well as in athletes. Acupuncture is frequently used for treating ankle sprains in eastern Asian countries. This review aimed to assess the benefits and harms of acupuncture for the treatment of ankle sprains in adults. We searched the medical literature for studies up to May 2013.

See all (22)

More about Sprained Ankle

Photo of an adult

Also called: Twisted ankle, Ankle sprain

See Also: Chronic Ankle Instability, Ankle Fracture, Sprains

Other terms to know:
Connective Tissue, Ligaments

Related articles:
How the Ankle Works

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