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Ankle Sprains

Overview:

Ligaments are fibrous, elastic bands of tissue that connect and stabilize the bones. An ankle sprain is a common, painful injury that occurs when one or more of the ankle ligaments is stretched beyond the normal range of motion. Sprains can occur as a result of sudden twisting, turning or rolling movements.

 

Lateral Inversion Sprains:

 

Ankle sprains are categorized by the type of motion that causes the injury. The most common type, called a lateral inversion sprain, occurs when the foot rolls inward. This causes injury to the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle, especially the anterior talofibular ligament.

 

Medial Eversion Sprains:

 

A second type of sprain, called a medial eversion sprain, occurs when the foot rolls outward. This type of sprain causes injury to the ligaments

on the inner side of the ankle.

Syndesmosis (High Ankle) Sprains:

The least common type of sprain is called a syndesmosis (or "high ankle") sprain. This type of sprain occurs when the foot rolls outward and the leg turns inward.

Symptoms:

 

Symptoms of an ankle sprain vary depend on the degree of ligament damage. Sprains are ranked in three degrees. A first degree sprain is a slight stretching of one or more ligaments. This results in mild tenderness. A second degree sprain is a partial tearing that results in moderate tenderness and swelling. The ankle may have some instability. A third degree sprain, the most severe, is a complete ligament tear. This results in severe pain, swelling and ankle instability.

 

Treatment:

 

Treatment for an ankle sprain depends on the severity of the injury. Treatment usually begins with rest, ice, compression and elevation. A first degree sprain typically requires a bandage wrap. A second degree sprain may require an ankle brace. A third degree sprain may require a cast or walking boot. As the ankle heals, all patients typically benefit from rehabilitation exercises. Surgery is not usually needed.

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