What Are the Symptoms of a Torn Ligament in the Ankle?

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Symptoms of torn ankle ligaments or ankle sprains include pain, swelling, bruising, limited ankle joint movement, and an audible popping or tearing sound at the time of the injury, states Mayo Clinic. Symptoms vary in number and intensity depending on the severity of the injury.

Torn ankle ligaments are common and occur when the ankle shifts outward while the foot twists inward or, less commonly, when the ankle shifts inward and the foot outward. Immediate treatment involves resting the affected joint, applying ice packs or using a slush bath for 15 to 20 minutes every two or three hours, compressing the area with an elastic bandage, and elevating the joint above the heart to help reduce swelling. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen are also effective for pain relief, according to WebMD. Sprains usually heal in four to six weeks.

Severe sprains and fractures share many of the same symptoms, so a doctor should evaluate the injury. In addition, severely torn ligaments that do not respond to therapy or rehabilitation may require surgery, reports WebMD.

Certain risk factors, such as poor conditioning, fatigue, improper warm-up, slippery or uneven surfaces, or ill-fitting or improper footwear increase the likelihood of an ankle ligament injury, notes Mayo Clinic.