Twisted Ankle

What is a Twisted Ankle?

A twisted ankle is something that happens to most people at least once in their lives. In fact, the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society estimates that about 25,000 people twist an ankle each day. Although it is a fairly common injury, a twisted, rolled or sprained ankle can vary in scope and severity. Twisting your ankle can often lead to swelling that is indicative of a sprain or tears in the ligaments. 

It's important for you to understand both the causes and treatments of a twisted ankle. Knowing these things can help you to avoid a more persistent, long-term problem in the future. 

Causes of a Twisted Ankle

For a twisted ankle to occur, you typically need to shift your foot very quickly while the sole of the foot remains planted. Because your foot is still in the same position when your ankle moves, it rolls inward while the ankle itself turns outward. This pulling in opposite directions causes the outer ligaments of your ankle to tear. It is possible for the ankle to move inward while your foot turns outward instead which tears the inner ligaments. However, these cases are much rarer than the supination (outward roll) of the ankle. 

Symptoms of a Twisted Ankle

The severity of your twist may be mild or moderate depending on how much damage the ligaments suffered during the tear. How many ligaments the injury tears also has a bearing on how much pain you'll feel. You should be able to walk on the affected ankle with only mild discomfort if the twist is not severe. If the injury is acute, you might actually feel the tear as it happens or hear the ligaments pop. This level of twist is usually accompanied by pain that is strong enough to prevent you from putting any weight on the foot. You will feel the pain associated with the injury almost immediately at the site of the tear. Bruising and tenderness often accompany the pain. 

Treatment Options for a Twisted Ankle

The treatments available for a twisted or sprained ankle can vary depending on the severity of the injury. There is often some flexibility with regard to the approach you can take to repair the damage. These options range from medical treatments to natural herbal remedies and home care. The RICE method of home treatment is a good place to start treating your twisted ankle. It's a simple home remedy that is easy to do if you follow these steps:


Rest in this case includes not just getting enough sleep and relaxation for your entire body. It means that you may also need to rest your ankle even when you are awake and working. Using medical aids such as crutches can provide relief for your ankle during the day when you need to move. 

A twisted ankle will always bring some bruising and swelling along with it. I recommend applying a pack of ice to your ankle for at least 10 minutes per day and up to 20 minutes at maximum for the first couple of days after the injury. Make sure you keep a thin layer of cloth between your skin and the ice, but press the ice firmly against the affected area and keep it there for the duration listed.

Compression is another method I recommend to reduce the swelling. However, it is not a protective measure. You should use it in conjunction with a brace if you think you'll need to put weight on the injured ankle. 

Raising the injured leg above your heart for a few hours each day will help to reduce swelling and bruising and will help to accelerate the healing process.

Other Remedies

In addition to home and medical treatments, there are some natural herbal remedies that can provide relief from a twisted ankle. In some cases, these remedies may also help to speed up the healing process. 


Leafy Greens
In general, any green herbs you add to your diet will be rich in Vitamin K, antioxidants, and other natural remedies that can promote healing. I recommend adding a variety of natural green herbs to your diet.


Garlic possesses anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swelling and speed wellness. 


Epsom Salt
This salt contains magnesium sulfate crystals that will soothe the sore muscles in your twisted ankle.


Essential oils made from arnica will not only reduce some inflammation but improve your circulation to reduce bruising, too.


Mayo Clinic



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