Ankle sprains are the #1 sports injury. Despite what most people
believe, ankle sprains are a real injury and range in severity depending on the grade.
- Grade I injury-stretching of the ankle ligaments
- Grade II injury-partial tear of the ankle ligaments
- Grade III injury-complete tear of the ankle ligaments
If not treated appropriately, ankle sprains can lead to chronic lateral ankle instability. Ankle instability predisposes the patient to future sprains and repetitive rolling or turning of the ankle and this repetitive trauma leads to ankle arthritis.
There are other ankle structures that can be injured with an ankle sprain mechanism besides ligaments. Advanced imaging can be useful in diagnosing structural problems if an ankle does not improve with time.
If there is severe swelling, bruising and pain with weightbearing, likely you will require application of a splint and non-weightbearing for around 2 weeks. Most people are able to transition to protected weight bearing at this point in a cast boot for another 2-4 weeks. Physical therapy is a very important part of the rehab process, which focuses on strengthening peroneal tendons and restoring balance. A removable ankle brace may be needed until the rehab process is complete.