When I was a little kid I sprained my ankle really bad and had to stay home for a few days and not walk around on it. That's about all I remember from that time. When I was in sports in middle school my ankle would swell sometimes and become tender but nothing terrible, eventually when the wrap didn't help I quit sports. Then my junior year in high school I managed to sprain my ankle really badly by (yes it's embarassing) tripping on a slab of concrete because of the thick soles on my shoes. I passed out, got sick, all that stuff, luckily we were at a community function and there were some EMTs there. They thought I broke it, trip to the doctor, no break, on crutches for a few weeks, minimal pain for the next few months. Then my freshman year in college (2 years ago) I fell down a flight of stairs, and the same ankle was sprained badly again. I could barely walk on it, since the semester was days away from ending the campus health center didn't give me crutches although the nurse admitted that I probably needed them. I spent the next few weeks not really walking on it, wrapping it, doing ice compresses, it helped a bit, after a month my mom took me in to the doctor. No break, just a bad sprain (she was in a hurry that day) so for the next 6 months I had to keep my ankle wrapped and occasionally use ice compresses and took a fair amount of ibprofen. I should have gone back into the doctor but didn't want to waste my time when I knew I'd hear the same thing again as to why my ankle was still hurting. For the last year and a half I've been okay except every now and then maybe once every two months (maybe less) it gets really swollen and hurts, other times it just hurts, and sometimes its just slightly swollen with the barest amount of pain, more discomfort than anything. Come to think of it I don't think all the swelling ever went away.
Are there other causes or symptoms I should be looking for here? Is there anything I can do to keep this from happening over and over again? It gets really frustrating, especially when after a long day with lots of walking my ankle is killing me. And other days were there isn't a lot of walking but I've stood around a lot. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.