Ankle sprains occur when the ankle is twisted or forced in a way that stretches or tears one or more ligaments. Symptoms of an ankle sprain include pain, bruising, swelling, stiffness, and difficulty walking. The severity of the injury can impact the degree of damage, type, and duration of treatment. Treatment options depend on if the ligaments are stretched, partially torn, or fully torn. Treatment can include resting and elevating the ankle, applying ice to reduce swelling. Compressive bandages also may be used to immobilize and support the injury during healing. Serious ankle sprains, particularly among competitive athletes, may require surgery to repair and tighten the damaged ligaments. If not properly treated, ankle sprains may develop into long-term problems. To prevent ankle sprains, maintain strength, balance, and flexibility in the foot and ankle through exercising, stretching, and wearing well-fitted shoes.