Injuries to your ankle, like rolling or twisting, are known as ankle sprains. It’s common that an ankle sprain is referred to as a twisted ankle, rolled ankle, and even a floppy ankle.
Ankle sprains are usually injuries to the ankle’s ligaments. Ankle ligaments provide stability by helping hold the bones of the ankle joint in position for use. The most commonly injured ligaments are the three ligaments on the outer side of the ankle – the anterior talofibular, calcaneofibular ligament, and the posterior talofibular ligament. The medial deltoid ligaments, found in the ankle joint, are occasionally injured as well.
Causes of Injury
There are three very common ways you might sprain your ankle:
- Rolling the foot inward (inversion), with the bottom of the foot pointed towards the opposite foot, usually results in a sprain referred to as a Lateral Ankle Sprain.
- Rolling the foot outward (eversion), away from the opposite foot, usually results in a Medial Ankle Sprain.
- Abrupt outward twisting of the foot, injuring the joining ligaments of the tibia and fibula, often result in syndesmotic sprains, typically known as “high ankle sprains.” These sprains are common in sports.
Through any of these injures, the ligaments can be stretched, partially torn, or fully ruptured – usually resulting in pain, swelling, and ankle instability.
Symptoms of Sprained Ankles
You typically know when you’ve sprained your ankle, but you should always have a foot & ankle specialist assess the severity of the. Typically, with a sprain you’ll feel tenderness, pain, weakness, and experience swelling and limited range of motion. When dealing with a sprain it’s also common to develop a slight limp as you baby the injury.
Sprain Treatment Options
It’s important you get proper treatment for your ankle sprains. Without proper treatment, the ankle ligaments may heal in a weakened position, or not at all. This can lead to chronic ankle instability, with frequent re-injuries and pain. Arthritis can also develop in the ankle as a result of ligament damage.
Treatment often involves stabilizing the foot to restore the correct anatomical position of the ankle ligaments. Depending on which ligaments are injured, and the severity of the damage, your podiatric physician can provide you with an ankle brace, splint, or boot to stabilize your ankle.
Other injuries to your bones, tendons, or nerves as a result of your sprain can usually be addressed alongside any ligament treatment. Surgical repairs are only performed when the affected ligaments or associated injuries are severe, or when healing does not proceed as expected.
Ankle Stabilization procedures can also be performed for patients with Chronic Ankle Instability to help prevent frequent sprains and re-injuries. Ankle arthroscopy, a minimally invasive joint procedure can sometimes be used to repair certain types of ankle damage as well.
Early evaluation and treatment of your sprain is essential for restoring foot and ankle health, and the quickest return to normal activities. For more information or to have your injury assessed, contact us today to schedule an appointment at the AFACC clinic nearest you.