Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Ankle FAQ


What is the best way to treat a sprained ankle and do you have to go to the doctor if you think you have one?


A sprained ankle happens when the ligaments, fibers that hold the ankle stable, get stretched and torn because the ankle is moved forcefully in an unnatural position. This could be from stepping off a sidewalk and landing on the side of your foot instead of the bottom, tripping, or landing on your foot the wrong way after a jump. Regardless of the cause, the result is pain and swelling that can range from mild to severe. Seeing a doctor is always a good idea because an x-ray will confirm that it truly is a sprain and not a break. An untreated broken ankle could end up causing problems later down the road. If the sprain is mild, or minimal, you may be told that it's ok to walk on it as long as you're careful. You may also be given some exercises to help strengthen the ankle. If the injury is moderate to severe, you likely will have your ankle splinted or braced and a follow-up with physiotherapy. Severe sprains must be watched because they could have problems with healing, which may make surgery necessary later on. Erik W. Edomonds, MD, et al. Anterolateral Ankle Impingement in Adolescents: Outcomes of Nonoperative and Operative Treatment. In Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. March 2010. Vol. 30. No. 2. Pp.186-191.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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