Foot Sprain

Foot Sprain

What is it?

A foot sprain is a tear of ligaments, the bands of tissue that connect bones to one another in a joint.

Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors

Foot sprains are rare. The risk of this type of sprain increases by participating in physical activities that require the foot to twist or bend. Foot sprains typically occur in the midfoot (or arch area) or the base of the big toe. Midfoot sprains typically happen during falls, stumbles or other accidents or activities where the foot is subject to twisting. Athletes and dancers are at particular risk.

Symptoms include:

  • pain
  • tenderness
  • swelling
  • possible bruising in the midfoot area

Meanwhile, big toe sprains, which are commonly referred to as “turf toe,” are caused by the toe being bent back. Again, athletes and dancers are at particular risk of these types of sprains. Symptoms include pain and swelling at the base of the big toe.


A doctor will diagnose a foot sprain by examining the foot, reviewing symptoms and medical history and conducting imaging tests, such as X-rays.


Foot sprain treatments include:

  • Resting the joint
  • Icing the injured area
  • Compressing the injury with an elastic bandage
  • Elevating the foot above heart level
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medication
If pain persists, the doctor may place a cast on the foot to protect it and relieve stress.

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