Sprains occur when the ligaments that control the movement of your ankle joints become stretched or torn. They vary greatly from mild injuries causing only momentary pain to ones that risk permanent joint instability. Sprains are most likely to occur when the toes are pointed and when the ankle is turned inwards, often with an awkward step or landing.
Sprains are classified as Grade I, II, or III. Grade I sprains are treated by standard RICE therapy: rest, ice, compression (bandages to support your ankle), and elevation. These usually resolve within a period of days. Grade II sprains are treated similarly but may require immobilization and take a greater amount of time to heal. Grade III sprains involve a larger number of ligaments and risk permanent damage if not treated properly. They are usually treated with immobilization in a cast or brace, though surgery is also an option.
Recovery should be gradual: rest and healing followed by stretching and strengthening, then a slow return to activity. A measured recovery, especially accompanied by proper strengthening exercises, is particularly important to reducing the risk of future injury.