An ankle sprain is a tear or partial tear in the ligaments of the ankle. It can happen when you simply step on an uneven surface, or step down at an angle. The most common ankle sprain occurs on the lateral or outside part of the ankle. When the foot twists, rolls or turns beyond its normal motions, a great force is transmitted upon landing. This causes the ligaments to stretch beyond their normal range in an abnormal position.
Grade of the sprain
Grade 1 Sprain
Slight stretching and damage to the fibers (fibrils) of the ligament.
Grade 2 Sprain
Partial tearing of the ligament. If the ankle joint is examined and moved in certain ways, abnormal looseness (laxity) of the ankle joint occurs.
Grade 3 Sprain
Complete tear of the ligament. If the examiner pulls or pushes on the ankle joint in certain movements, gross instability occurs.
- Ankle pain, which can be mild to severe
- Swelling and bruising around the ankle
- A popping sound during the injury
- Difficulty moving the ankle
- Cannot put any weight on the injured foot
- Weakness or instability in the ankle
- Instability of the ankle (in severe sprains)
- Resting and icing the ankle sprain for 20 minutes every two to three hours is advised in the first 48 to 72 hours of the injury taking place
- Patients who cannot bear weight on the foot are better treated in a removable walking boot until they can comfortably bear weight on the foot
- Ankle brace can help offload the ankle and reduce the swelling
- Patients can be taught to strengthen the muscles around the ankle
- Surgery is not required in the vast majority of ankle sprains.
- An important fact to remember is the patient’s ability to bear weight on the injured foot. Patients who can bear on the foot are likely to recover in a short period of time.