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Causes of Ankle Sprains

  • Published: 2009-02-20 (Revised/Updated 2013-03-24) : Author: Brad Walker
  • Synopsis: Step on the sidewalk the wrong way and twist your ankle sprains are unavoidable and happen whether you participate in a sport or not.

Quote: "If you've had sprained one or both of your ankles in the past, your joints are generally more susceptible to future sprains."

Main Document

Several things can cause ankle sprains. Ankle sprains are unavoidable and happen whether you participate in a sport or not.

Sprain - An injury to a ligament caused by tearing of the fibers of the ligament. The ligament can have a partial tear, or it can be completely torn apart. Of all sprains, ankle and knee sprains occur most often. Sprained ligaments swell rapidly and are painful. Generally, the greater the pain and swelling, the more severe the injury is.

You could simply step on the sidewalk the wrong way and twist your ankle, causing it to sprain. Ankle sprains can happen any time, any place.

While ankle sprains are an unavoidable fact of life, there are still some measures you can take both as a precaution and for recovery afterwards. Following are some of the most common causes of ankle sprains and the solutions to lessen the risk of it happening.

Lack of Conditioning

If you don't keep your muscles, tendons and ligaments loose and flexible, they are more susceptible to sprain or injury. By not exercising your ankles, they get weak and unstable. Prevent this from happening by exercising your ankles for a few minutes each day. If you have a normal exercise routine, add a couple ankle exercise to strengthen the joint and make it more flexible.

Lack of Warming Up and Stretching

Without proper stretching and warm up before exercising, your ankles are more likely to get injured. One study states that basketball players who didn't warm up before a game were nearly three times more likely to injure their ankles than the players who used a warm up routine.

Previous History of Ankle Sprain

If you've had sprained one or both of your ankles in the past, your joints are generally more susceptible to future sprains. You can take some precautions to reduce the chances of ankle sprains, though. Stretching exercises, warming up before running or other strenuous exercises and conditioning exercises can make your ankles stronger.

Inadequate Shoes

Good shoes are important for keeping your ankles strong. If you're not an athlete, good shoes keep your ankles supported when you're walking or jogging. This also applies to the rest of your daily life. Don't skimp on well-fitting shoes or buy ones just because they look good. Unfortunately, this is the downfall of many women. Take a larger size if you have to. If the shoes are uncomfortable for the few minutes you have them on in the store, you can imagine how they would feel at the end of an eight-hour day. Spend a few extra dollars on quality shoes to help protect your ankles.

Uneven Ground and Other Situations

You've probably walked down an uneven sidewalk before and given your ankle a slight twist. This is how many people sprain their ankles. Their joint doesn't expect the sudden change and it doesn't prepare the muscles for it. Stepping in holes or trying to stand on other surfaces that aren't made for standing on can cause injury to your ankle, too. You can also sprain your ankle by jogging and accidentally stepping on a rock or a bump on your path.

Unfortunately, ankle sprains are never completely avoidable. You can do some simple things to strengthen your ankles and prepare them for strenuous situations, though. Take a few minutes to warm up your ankles and take other precautions to keep them healthy. A few minutes of prevention can save days or even months of pain and agony.

Reference: Article by Brad Walker. Brad is an internationally recognized stretching and sports injury consultant with 20 years of practical experience in the health and fitness industry. Brad is a Health Science graduate of the University of New England and has postgraduate accreditation in athletics, swimming and triathlon coaching. He has worked with elite level and world champion athletes and lectures for Sports Medicine Australia on injury prevention. Brad is also the author of The Stretching Handbook, The Anatomy of Stretching and The Anatomy of Sports Injuries. For more information and articles on stretching, flexibility and sports injury management, visit (Website Down)

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