The most common outward characteristics of a sprained ankle are swelling and bruising, according to Mayo Clinic. A patient also experiences pain, especially when trying to put weight on the affected ankle.
An ankle sprain occurs because the ankle is forced to move out of its normal position, such as when the ankle rolls outward when the foot is still inward, according to WebMD. In many cases, a sprained ankle is treated with rest, ice, compression and elevation, explains WebMD. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help reduce pain and swelling caused by inflammation. Warming up before exercising, wearing supportive footwear, and performing balance exercises are activities that can reduce the risk of a sprained ankle, according to Mayo Clinic.