Garment District, New York
1410 Broadway, 606
New York, NY 10018
(212) 385-0801

What Is the Difference Between a Strained & Sprained Ankle? December 17, 2018

Garment District, Manhattan
What Is the Difference Between a Strained & Sprained Ankle?, Manhattan, New York

Living with a strained or sprained ankle can be challenging. Although these kinds of injuries are usually minor and rarely cause lasting damage, being unable to put weight on your foot can seriously impact your quality of life. Unless you have a sedentary job, for example, you may not be able to work while recovering. Fortunately, it’s possible to facilitate the healing process so you can resume a normal routine as soon as possible. Here is what you should know about strains versus sprains so you can take the right approach to recovery.

Identifying Strains

When a muscle or tendon stretches or tears, it is known as a strain. Strains are especially common in the lower back and legs, but they can also occur in the ankle. Symptoms include muscle spasms, pain, swelling, and limited mobility in the affected joint. Typically, you can treat a mild strain at home. To relieve symptoms and speed up recovery, rest the affected limb, ice the area, wrap the site of injury, and elevate the joint above the heart — or at least until it is parallel to the floor. If you don't notice any improvement within 48 hours, the strain may be fairly severe. In such a scenario, surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged tissue.

Identifying Sprains

sprained ankleIf you stretch or tear a ligament, it is known as a sprain. Ligaments connect the bones within a joint. The ankle is the most common joint in which to develop a sprain. Symptoms of a sprained ankle are similar to those of a strained ankle and include pain, swelling, and limited mobility in lower limbs; however, bruising is also common near the affected joint. Like strains, sprains can be treated with the RICE—rest, ice, compression, elevate—method. Over-the-counter pain medication and immobilization with a splint or brace will also help—unless the damage is severe. If that's the case, surgery may be the only way to repair the torn ligament.


If you think you have a strained or sprained ankle, turn to a podiatrist at New York Foot Experts for a comprehensive evaluation. With four convenient locations in Manhattan—including Harlem—their friendly providers make it easy to get quality foot care. At their state-of-the-art facilities, they treat everything from toenail fungus to heel pain. Visit their website to see what patients have to say about the attentive and personalized care they provide, or call (212) 385-0801 to make an appointment today.

Other Announcements, Events and Deals from New York Foot Experts
3 Ways to Prevent Ingrown Toenails From Returning, Manhattan, New York
While toenails are designed to help protect your toes, they may sometimes grow improperly and cause pain and infection. Known as an ingrown toenail, this condition occurs when the more
4 Athlete's Foot FAQ, Manhattan, New York
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that causes a scaly rash on the skin of the feet. The rash can lead to excessive itching, stinging, and burning between the toes or soles more
3 Benefits of Custom Orthotics, Manhattan, New York
Do you deal with regular foot pain or have difficulty finding shoes that provide enough support? In many cases, orthotics are the answer, and for the best results, you’ll want more
What Are Some Common Causes of Foot Numbness?, Manhattan, New York
Numbness in your feet or lower legs can be alarming, but in many cases, it’s nothing to be concerned about. As long as you’re familiar with the most common causes of numbness — and more