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Lateral Ankle Sprains Part 1: What exactly is an ankle sprain?

Lateral Ankle Sprains Part 1: What exactly is an ankle sprain?

What is an ankle sprain?

An ankle sprain is an injury that occurs when your foot rolls inwards or outwards, causing you to fall and overstretch the structures on that aspect of your foot. This can occur while missing a step while walking downstairs or tripping over an object on the ground. More commonly, an outwards ankle sprain occurs, called a lateral ankle sprain, leading to injuries to your ligaments and sometimes bony structures. Other types of ankle sprains, which rarely but can occur, include a medial ankle sprain (rolling on the inside of your ankle) or a high ankle sprain (called a syndemosis injury). This blog series will focus on treating lateral ankle sprains as they occur in approximately 80% of ankle sprains.

What parts of the foot are usually injured?  

There are three grades of ankle sprains that occur. Each will affect different parts of your foot in various ways. More commonly, there are three main ligaments that are injured in a lateral ankle sprain:

  • Anterior talofibular ligament: at the front of your ankle. This is the most common ligament to be injured.
  • Calcaneofibular ligament: on the outside of your ankle.
  • Posterior talofibular ligament: closer to the back of your ankle

Each grade of ankle sprain is graded on the extent of injury to the ligament/s affected:

  • Grade 1: Minimal pain on palpation and swelling, no tear present, balance slightly impeded.
  • Grade 2: Partial tear, fair amount of tenderness and swelling, reduced range of motion, ankle stiffness, difficulty in bearing weight.
  • Grade 3: severe tenderness and swelling, complete tear of ligament/s. unable to bear weight.

Risks of developing an ankle sprain:

It is important to understand the risk factors that may lead to an ankle sprain prior to partaking in sports and activities that increase the risk of obtaining an ankle sprain:

  • Impaired balance
  • Previous ankle sprain injury: this is the highest risk factor for developing ankle sprains in the future.
  • Inappropriate footwear for your chosen activity.
  • Improper rehabilitation from previous foot and ankle injuries: if strength around the affected muscles and ligaments is not addressed, an ankle sprain in the future is likely.
  • Sports that involve a sudden change in direction (e.g. rugby, soccer, dancing)

Managing ankle sprains can be difficult if it is not rehabilitated correctly and as soon as the injury occurs. If you are having issues with your ankle, let the team at SOLE – LUTION PODIATRY help you. You can reach us on 02 9569 5145 or book online at https://sole-lutionpodiatry.com.au/book-online/.  

Thanks!

Luke Sassine

Sole – Lution Podiatry

SoleLution
admin@sole-lutionpodiatry.com.au