A sprained ankle occurs when one or more of the ligaments of the ankle becomes stretched or torn after being forced into an unnatural position.
This generally happens as a result of some form of twisting, turning, or rolling of the foot caused by such varying activities as playing basketball or wearing high-heeled shoes. The severity of sprained ankles can vary widely and are classified as Grade 1, 2, or 3.
- Grade 1: Slight stretching and mild damage to the fibers of one or more ankle ligaments.
- Grade 2: Partial tearing of one or more ligaments with possible looseness of the ankle.
- Grade 3: Complete tear of one or more ankle ligaments with major joint instability.
Symptoms of an ankle sprain include inflammation, swelling, and pain, and correlate in intensity with the severity of the sprain. It’s common to see bruising around the affected ankle and foot, as well as restricted range of motion.
While Grade 1 sprains can generally be treated at home with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (the R.I.C.E. method), Grade 2 and 3 sprains may need medical attention. While even severe sprains rarely require surgery, the symptoms can be difficult to differentiate from those of a fracture or broken bone; a doctor can help you determine one way or the other using X-ray, MRI, and/or CT scanning.
Sprained ankles are common. According to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, around 25,000 people sprain an ankle every day. That doesn’t mean you should just brush it off, though, if it happens to you. If you or a loved one is experiencing anything more than moderate discomfort from a sprained ankle, come into PrimaCare Medical Centers. We’ll make sure your sprained ankle is diagnosed and treated properly to avoid any lingering complications, such as Chronic Ankle Instability (CAI) or early-onset arthritis.