The signs of a sprained foot will generally vary depending on the kind of strain a person suffers. There are three different "grades" used to describe sprained feet. Grade one is a very minor sprain with tiny ligament tears, while grade two involves major tears, and a grade-three sprain is a total rip in some of the foot ligaments. The common symptoms among all three are tenderness and swelling, which will generally worsen along with the severity. More extreme sprains also involve significant bruising, and grade-three sprains can make the foot completely unusable.
Ligaments are generally quite flexible, and ligament injuries usually occur when someone tries to stretch them beyond their capacity. A sprained foot will normally occur when someone tries to pivot too suddenly, or falls in an awkward way. A movement like that can stretch the ligament to its limit and beyond, at which point tears will generally appear. For a grade-three sprained foot, the injury is often quite severe, and it is not uncommon for these issues to involve broken bones as well.
A sprained foot happens much more easily if someone is doing something relatively intense. This would generally include things like athletics or extreme outdoor activities like mountain climbing. For this reason, it is very common for foot sprain sufferers to be athletes, either professional or amateur. It’s also possible for a foot sprain to happen while someone is doing something mundane like walking down a flight of stairs, but it’s much more common in certain sports, especially football and dance.
If someone suffers a mild foot sprain, doctors might not do a whole lot about it. There may be a recommendation of getting some bed rest, and a person may get a prescription for pain medication. More severe sprains require more drastic measures. For example, the doctor may actually put the foot into some kind of cast to keep it still so that it has a better chance to heal. In some situations, surgery may even be needed to repair damaged ligaments.
According to experts, foot sprains aren’t actually all that common. It takes a relatively unusual movement to actually strain the foot ligaments, because most natural movements don’t put that much stress on them. In cases where someone does put strain on the foot ligaments, it is more common for the ankle to get sprained while the foot remains uninjured. Athletes and others at severe risk sometimes wear less flexible shoes, which can keep the foot from being over-flexed.