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How is a sprained ankle diagnosed?

Your doctor will diagnose your sprained ankle by performing a careful examination of your foot and ankle. This physical exam may be painful.

  • Palpate. Your doctor will gently press around the ankle to determine which ligaments are injured.
  • Range of motion. He or she may also move your ankle in different directions; however, a stiff, swollen ankle usually will not move much.

If there is no broken bone, your doctor may be able to tell the severity of your ankle sprain based upon the amount of swelling, pain, and bruising.