Most ankle sprains occur when the foot is suddenly turned inward, tearing the outside ligaments. Sprains of the ligament group on the inside of the ankle are less common. There are three classifications of ankle sprains: mild, moderate, and severe.


May include pain, swelling, bruising, decreased range of motion, instability, and inability to bear full or partial weight.


Treatment is based on the severity of the sprain and may include rest, ice, elevation of the foot, medications such as Ibuprofen, splinting or casting, physical therapy, and surgery. Crutches may be prescribed. If the employee did not sprain his/her ankle while at work, he/she needs to see his/her personal physician for evaluation and treatment. If the injury occurred at work, Employee Health Services will see and treat the employee. While awaiting the medical evaluation, the employee may apply ice to the affected ankle for up to 15 minutes every hour. In addition, he/she may take an over-the-counter agent such as Advil or Tylenol if he/she has no allergic or medical conditions associated with taking these agents.

Work status

The employee may work. The treating physician is responsible for determining if the employee has any work restrictions.