Without adequate care, acute ankle trauma can result in chronic joint instability. Use of a standardized protocol enhances the management of ankle sprains. In patients with grades I or II sprains, emphasis should be placed on accurate diagnosis, early use of RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation), maintenance of range of motion and use of an ankle support. Sprains with complete ligament tears (grade III) may require surgical intervention. Although early motion and mobility are recommended, ligamentous strength does not return until months after an ankle sprain.