A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments. Ligaments are the bands of fibrous tissue connecting bones and joints. The most common location for a sprain is the ankle.


Sprains cause pain, swelling, bruising and limited ability to move the affected joint. Sometimes the joint will "pop" — a feeling or sound in the joint at the time of injury.


Sprains are treated with the R.I.C.E. approach — rest, ice, compression and elevation. Ice applied as soon as possible minimizes swelling. If the sprain is serious, a health care professional may immobilize the joint with a splint.