By far, most injuries occur to the ankle with an "inversion" or rolling in of the foot and ankle in a weightbearing position. It is common in soccer, basketball and football. Often times this is associated with a pop over the outer side of the ankle. There may be immediate swelling and an inability to walk. By far, most of these types of injuries will involve the anterior talofibular ligament ("ATFL") and possibly the calcaneofibular ligament. The pain is usually over the outside, or lateral, part of the ankle. Typically, the other structures are intact.
The type and treatment for these types of injuries depends on the extent of the ligament tear and amount of instability. Often with mild ankle sprains they will respond well to icing, compression and elevation. Sometimes a brace, air stirrupor taping can be used to protect the ankle from repeated inversion injuries. For those with a more severe strain, they are sometimes immobilized in a cast or walking boot.
In more severe chronic situations, when a patient has recurrent ankle sprains, they can undergo a small surgical procedure to repair their ligaments. By far, most people will get better with nonsurgical treatment. Physical therapy for instruction on strengthening one’s ankle is also helpful at times