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What causes an ankle sprain?

Ankle sprains occur when the foot twists, rolls, or turns beyond its normal motions. This causes the ankle ligaments to stretch beyond their normal range into an abnormal position. (This answer provided for NATA by the Weber State University Athletic Training Education Program.)
Edward Phillips
Physical Therapy
Ankle sprains, an injury so common the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons estimates it happens 25,000 times a day, occur when you roll your foot inward or outward, or turn or twist an ankle. That stretches, or even tears, the binding ligaments that keep the bones and joints properly positioned. Depending on the force applied as you land, the sprain can be mild, moderate, or severe. Chronic laxity in the ligaments from a sprain, makes repeated sprains more likely. While sports involving running, jumping, or sudden stops and turns sometimes play a role in sprains, simply losing balance or crossing uneven ground may be causes, too.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.