An ankle sprain is the condition where one or more of the supportive ligaments of the ankle joint is torn or partially torn. When a sprain occurs, the body enacts the inflammatory response causing a release of fluid into the area and pain is experienced. The nerves in the ankle area become hypersensitive and a throbbing sensation is most often felt. The additional fluid into the ankle and foot region serve as a splinting mechanism and there is a decrease in mobility of the joint.
There are three types of ankle sprains:
Inversion (Lateral) Ankle Sprain
This is the most common mechanism of injury, occurring approximately 90% of all ankle sprains. It occurs when the foot and ankle are “turned in” and you roll over the ankle. This causes the lateral ligaments of the ankle joint to become stretched. Most often, the anterior talofibular ligament (ATF) is often partially torn. When this type of ankle sprain happens, the outer, or lateral, ligaments are stretched too much.
Eversion (Medial) Ankle Sprain
Far less common is the eversion injury. This sprain occurs when the foot and ankle are turned out and the athlete rolls over the inside portion of the foot. The medial ligaments of the foot are stretched and the Deltoid ligament may become torn or partially torn.
High Ankle Sprain
Another ankle injury that seems to be increasing in rate is the high ankle sprain. It occurs when the ligaments above the ankle, holding the two lower leg bones stable, become stretched. This injury occurs from a forceful twisting of the foot when planted and is often seen in basketball and football athletes.
As with most injuries, the conservative approach of PRICE – “Protection -Rest – Ice – Compression (or support) – Elevation” is the preferred initial treatment. However, there may be a need to rule out fractures and other potential conditions. A sports medicine trained physician can complete a thorough evaluation in order to make a proper diagnosis.
In further blog posts we will discuss the evolution of ankle rehabilitation and the advaced techniques Sports Medicine South uses to help get our athletes back to the game and Beyond Better!
If you would like to discuss this further or if you have ankle or foot pain or any other type of orthopedic or sports-related injury, call our office today and ask to speak to one of our sports medicine professionals at 770-237-3475.