A sprain is defined as stretching or tearing of one or more ligaments following a sudden movement of the joint. Sprains are generally divided into 3 stages:
• Mild: ligament stretched but not torn
• Moderate: ligament stretched with slight tearing
• Severe: ligament torn or detached
Of all the joints, ankle sprains alone account for 7 to 10%* of hospital emergency department visits. They usually occur during a high-risk physical activity, such as certain sports involving pivoting (basketball, volleyball, etc.).
For optimum management of an ankle sprain, the RICE protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) should be applied as soon as possible, in the first 48 to 72 hours. The aim of this protocol is to limit oedema or swelling and reduce pain.
Afterwards, it is often necessary to rest the ankle using a stabilising brace. In some cases, functional rehabilitation or physiotherapy may help limit residual symptoms and reduce the risk of recurrence.
When resuming sports activities, it may be useful to protect the ankle using strapping or a brace.
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