Ankle Sprains and Instability

What is an ankle sprain?

Ankle sprains refer to damage to ligaments around the ankle. While an ankle sprain can be as severe as a tear, it can also be a stretching of the ligaments, which also leads to poor balance or instability. The most common mechanism of injury is by inverting the ankle, thereby stretching the ligaments. Once damage is done to the ligaments, physical therapy is often needed to help increase strength and stability to the joint.

What causes an ankle sprain?

Your child may sprain his or her ankle by:

  • Inversion—when the foot rolls underneath the ankle or leg.
  • Landing from a jump incorrectly.
  • Rapid change in direction.

What are symptoms of an ankle sprain?

If your child has a sprained ankle, he or she may experience:

  • Swelling.
  • Bruising.
  • Loss of range of motion.
  • Tenderness.
  • Discomfort with activity.

Why choose Stanford Medicine Children’s Health to care for your child’s ankle sprain?

Our pediatric sports medicine experts care exclusively for children and teens, so we understand how to balance your child’s need to get back on the field with his or her full recovery. We can also help your child learn how to reduce the risk of future injuries and return to their sport stronger than ever.