Presentation

An Ankle sprain involves a strain on the lateral or “outside” ankle with a partial or complete tear of the ligaments. The cause of an ankle sprain involves a twisting, turning, or rolling of the foot.

Symptoms/Diagnosis

Symptoms include swelling, bruising, and pain. Often symptoms can mimic those of an ankle fracture and an x-ray may be taken to rule out any broken bones. Ankle sprains are classified as a grade 1, 2 or 3 depending on the severity. Grade 1 includes mild strain on the ligaments with no loss in stability of the ankle. Grade 2 involves a partial tear of the ankle ligaments with possible instability of the ankle joint. Grade 3 is a complete tear of one or more ligaments with instability of the ankle joint.

Treatment

Treatment will vary depending on the severity with a mild sprain being treated with rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE). Moderate ankle sprains typically require more immobilization followed by physical therapy. Severe ankle sprains may require surgery if conservative treatment fails. Further imaging may be needed to evaluate extent of injury.