What is an Ankle Sprain?
An ankle sprain occurs when the ankle is forced into a position that causes the ligaments to tear. Depending on how you twist your ankle, you may get a high ankle sprain, also known as a syndesmotic injury or a low ankle sprain, which is an injury to anteriortalofibular ligament and/or the calcaneofibular ligament. The ligaments can be injured based on how the ankle is "rolled." The most common ankle sprain is an ATFL injury, usually due to an inversion injury as seen below.
The diagnosis of ankle sprains is made with clinical exam and with X-Ray. X-Rays are always taken to rule out a break in the bone. If there are no breaks in the bone, and the physician pushes on the location of the ligament that are likely torn, an ankle sprain is highly likely to be the diganosis.
Atlanta Bone and Joint Specialists do not give blanket statement unlike other doctors. Depending on the severity of the sprain, the length of your rehabilitation may be longer or shorter than normal. Each ankle sprain is individualized, meaning we ask about sports schedules, events you may have coming up and try to make sure we have you back as quickly as possible. For minor ankle sprains, lace up ankle braces are given to support the ankle. In more severe cases, a walking boot may be given. Usually, most patients make a significant recovery within 2 weeks. If patients continue to have pain, sometimes an MRI may be ordered to make sure no cartilage was injured during the sprain.
Most ankle sprains will go to physical therapy immediately to reduce swelling and increase immediate function. Therapy is the cornerstone treatment for ankle sprains and has excellent outcomes. Most patients report greater than 90% reduction of pain within 2 weeks.
Recurrent Ankle Sprains
In the event that you have chronic ankle sprains, meaning that you sprain your ankle multiple times per year, there are surgical interventions that are performed to restore stability. Our doctors are on the cutting edge of repair techniques, using the Brostrom-Gould procedure for low ankle sprains and the minimally invasive tightrope technique for continued high ankle sprains. See videos below to learn more!