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Ankle Sprain Basics

One of the most frequent sports-related ailments that may happen to anyone, from professional players to weekend warriors, is a sprained ankle. Sprained ankles can be classified as inversion, eversion, or high ankle. Each type affects a different area of the ankle and calls for a certain course of care for a swift recovery.

Inversion Sprain

When the foot rolls outward and the ankle turns inside, it can injure the ligaments on the outside of the ankle, which is known as an inversion sprain. The most frequent type of sprain, it generally happens during sports involving cutting or jumping. Bruising, trouble walking, and discomfort and swelling on the outside of the ankle are all symptoms. The severity of this type of sprain varies dramatically, with some only requiring some rest to recover, and the most significant requiring surgery. This depends on the amount of damage to the ligaments of the outer part of the leg (usually the anterior, inferior and posterior talofibular ligaments). Micro tearing of these structures won't require much, but partial or full tears are significantly more difficult to recover from.

Eversion Sprain

The ligaments on the inside half of the ankle may be harmed in an eversion sprain, which occurs when the foot rolls inward and the ankle rolls outward. This less frequent type of sprain is often brought on by a severe ankle trauma. Bruising, trouble walking, and discomfort and swelling on the inside of the ankle are all symptoms. Like inversion sprains, this type of sprain can vary in severity. It usually is a little more significant, however, because the ligaments of the inner foot are much larger and stronger, which means that a sprain would have been caused by significantly more force.

High Ankle Sprain

When the foot and ankle are pulled upward, the ligaments connecting the tibia and fibula are torn, resulting in a high ankle sprain, also known as a syndesmotic sprain. This form of sprain occurs more frequently in sports involving collisions or rapid changes in direction. To visualize this, you can picture the Talus (the ankle bone that connects to the two leg bones) is put under so much pressure that it acts like a wedge and forcefully separates the two bones from each other, damaging the strong tissue between them.  Bruising, trouble walking, and discomfort and swelling in the ankle and lower leg are some symptoms. This sprain is significantly more severe typically, and is the slowest to recover from. 

The type of ankle sprain that has occurred must be identified in order to develop the best treatment strategy. On the basis of the cause of damage, the location of discomfort, and any additional indications present, a preliminary examination can frequently indicate which type of sprain has happened. For a more thorough diagnosis, additional tests like X-rays or MRI may be required.

Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) are commonly used as initial treatments for injured ankles to lessen pain and swelling. Regaining ankle strength and range of motion might also benefit from physical therapy exercises and methods. The kind and degree of the sprain will determine the precise treatment that is advised.

All three types of injured ankles can benefit from early mobilization and weight-bearing activities, according to research. Also, it has been demonstrated that manual treatment methods like muscle activation, myofascial release and chiropractic adjustments can increase range of motion and lessen pain. According to studies, wearing ankle braces or taping your ankles can help avoid further ankle sprains.

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for the best results. Most people can resume their previous level of activity pain-free with the right treatment and therapy. In a future blog we will go into further detail about each of the sprain types and how to recovery as quickly as possible.


Lin CW, Hiller CE, de Bie RA. Evidence-based treatment for ankle injuries: a clinical perspective. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy. 2010;18(1):22-28.

Doherty C, Delahunt E, Caulfield B, Hertel J, Ryan J, Bleakley C. The incidence and prevalence of ankle sprain injury: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective epidemiological studies. Sports Medicine. 2014;44(1):123-140.

Kaminski TW, Hertel J, Amendola N, et al. National Athletic Trainers' Association position statement: conservative management and prevention of ankle sprains in athletes. Journal of Athletic Training. 2013;48(4):528-545.

Gross MT, Liu HY. The role of ankle bracing for prevention of ankle sprain injuries. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2003


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