What is a sprain?
A sprain is a stretched or torn ligament. Ligaments connect one bone to another bone at a joint and help keep the bones from moving out of place.
The most common site of sprains is the ankle. An ankle sprain can happen when you fall, when you suddenly twist your ankle too far, or when you force the joint out of it’s normal position (for example, when you land awkwardly on your foot after jumping). Most ankle sprains occur during sports activities or when walking or running on an uneven surface.
Signs of an Ankle Sprain
The signs of an Ankle Sprain can include:
- Pain or tenderness
- Inability to walk or bear weight on the joint
The severity of an ankle sprain depends on how badly the ligaments are stretched or torn. If the sprain in mild, there may not be much pain or swelling, and the ligaments may only be stretched. If the sprain is severe, one of more ligaments may be torn, and the join may be severely swollen. A severe sprain can also be extremely painful.
How are Ankle Sprains diagnosed?
Your doctor will usually be able to tell if you have a sprain by asking you some questions about how the injury occurred and by examining your ankle. You doctor may also want to take an x-ray of your ankle to make sure that it’s not fractured or broken.
A sprained ankle occurs following a sudden sideways or twisting movement of the foot. An ankle sprain can occur during athletic events or during everyday activities. All it takes is an awkward step or an uneven surface to cause an ankle sprain—that is why sprained ankles are among the most common orthopedic injuries.
Types of Ankle Sprains
There are two broad categories of ankle sprain:
- Inversion – the most common type of ankle sprain. When this type of ankle sprain happens, the outer, or lateral, ligaments are stretched too far. Pain is always on the outside of the ankle, and there is usually no pain on the inside of the ankle joint.
- Eversion – the other type of sprained ankle. The foot is twisted outwards stretching the deltoid ligament too far. Patients will have pain on the inner side of the ankle.
What is a “High Ankle Sprain”?
A high ankle sprain is a particular type of injury to the ligaments around the ankle. In a high ankle sprain, the ligaments above the joint are also injured. These ligaments, called the syndesmosis ligaments, can also be injured, and may necessitate a longer course of rehabilitation.