Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are a very common injury, according to the Mayo there are about 3 million cases of ankle sprains per year in the United States. This type of injury can affect anyone at anytime throughout their lives. Ankle sprains also have a high association with sport related injuries seen in basketball, football and soccer.

The majority of ankle sprains occur with the lateral (outside) ankle ligaments. This occurs when foot inverts and twists under the ankle. The severity of ankle sprain can be associated with the number of ligaments involved and the degree of damage associated with them. This area has 3 main lateral ankle ligaments commonly injured in an inversion ankle sprain ATFL (Anterior TaloFibular Ligament), CF (CalcaneoFibular ligament) and the PTFL (Posterior TaloFibular Ligament). The injury can range in severity from a stretch to a tear to one or all of these ligaments. These are typically classified from grade 1-3 (see image). Following an acute ankle sprain; swelling, pain, and bruising are typically seen.

If an ankle sprain is suspected ankle X-rays should be obtained to rule out an ankle fracture. Ankle fractures which are left untreated can have devastating long term complications, so early x-rays are imperative.

Treating an ankle sprain will depend on the severity, level of activity and age of each individual. Treatment can include immobilization in a walking boot, rest, ice, compression and elevation. In some cases surgical repair of the torn ligament may be indicated. If you are someone you know has suffered an ankle injury it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible and start the appropriate treatment plan.

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