The ligaments of the ankle hold the ankle bones and joint in position. They protect the joint from abnormal movements, in particular twisting, turning, and rolling of the foot.
Ligaments are elastic and therefore can bend to a certain degree. However, when a ligament is forced to stretch beyond its normal range, this is when a sprained ankle can occur. A severe sprain can cause actual tearing of the elastic fibers.
As a result of these tears, the ankle may swell and bruise. When you place weight on the area, you may feel pain or discomfort. Blood vessels, cartilage, and tendons can also be damaged as a result of the sprained ankle.
Symptoms of a sprained ankle include:
- Ankle pain, from mild to severe
- A popping sound during the injury
- Trouble moving the ankle
- Instability of the ankle (in severe sprains)