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Ankle sprains can really slow kids and teens down. At Cook Children's, our goal is make sure that your child's treatment is based on their body and the severity of the sprain. That way, we can help them get back to their activities as quickly as possible.
An ankle sprain is when the ligaments that support the ankle get overly stretched or torn. It can happen when you step in a hole, twist your ankle while walking or running, or put your weight down on your foot awkwardly.
When most ankle sprains happen, the ankle is flexed and inverted (the foot turned inward toward the opposite foot). Ankle sprains are common, making up 25% of all sports-related injuries.
With rest and proper treatment, most ankle sprains heal within 4–6 weeks. But some can take longer.
The signs of an ankle sprain depend on how serious it is. Common symptoms include:
Most ankle sprains happen when the ankle twists, or when the foot rolls onto its side. Most happen during athletic activities. But you don't have to be playing sports to injure an ankle — sprains can happen from taking an awkward step or tripping on the stairs.
To diagnose ankle sprains, doctors ask about the injury and do an exam. They'll check the bones and soft tissue of the ankle, watch your child's range of motion, and do strength tests.
Sometimes, the doctor may order an X-ray or other imaging study to see if there are other injuries, such as a broken bone.
Treatment for an ankle sprains usually includes:
Doctors may treat a more serious ankle sprain with a splint or temporary cast. Very rarely, a person might need surgery.
If your child has an ankle sprain, they'll probably need to take some time off from sports and other strenuous physical activities. Sprains usually heal well, but they need time to get fully better. Make sure your child's sprained ankle is completely healed before returning to full activities by ensuring the following:
It's impossible to prevent all ankle sprains. But these tips can make another one less likely:
If your child has been diagnosed, you probably have lots of questions. We can help. If you would like to schedule an appointment, refer a patient or speak to our staff, please call our offices at 682-885-4405.