Sprains and Fracture Problems Menu

What are the types of sprain and fracture problems?

The feet and ankles work together to provide support and mobility to the body. A foot or ankle sprain is a soft tissue injury. Most often, a sprain occurs when an injury pulls, stretches, or tears the ligaments that connect bone to bone. A fracture is actually a break in the bone.

Injuries are the most common causes of foot and ankle sprains and fractures. Many fractures and sprains occur during sports. Football players are particularly vulnerable to foot and ankle sprains and fractures. Basketball players are prone to ankle sprains, and runners may develop stress fractures of the ankle or foot. Gymnasts and dancers may also develop stress fractures.

Tripping or stumbling on uneven ground is another common cause of foot and ankle sprains and fractures.

Symptoms may include: 

  • Pain
  • swelling
  • bruising
  • and difficulty walking on the affected foot or ankle

These are the most common symptoms of a sprained or fractured foot or ankle.

If you’ve hurt your foot or ankle, it’s best to err on the side of caution. The acronym RICE can help you remember what to do:

  • Rest—Rest the affected area. Stay off the injured foot or ankle until it can be fully evaluated. Walking, running, or playing sports on an injured foot or ankle may make the injury worse.
  • Ice—Apply ice to the affected area as soon as possible, and reapply it for 15–20 minutes every three or four hours for the first 48 hours after injury. Ice can decrease inflammation.
  • Compression—Wrap an elastic bandage (such as an Ace® wrap) around the affected foot or ankle. The wrapping should be snug, but not so tight as to cut off circulation.
  • Elevation—Elevate the affected extremity on a couple of pillows; ideally, your foot or ankle should be higher than your heart. Keeping your foot or ankle elevated also decreases swelling.
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This information is provided by Vascular Health Clinics and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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