ABC Medical Center > Ankle sprain

What is Ankle sprain?

21:54 - 4 May , 2021


It refers to an injury caused by a forced movement of the ankle that produces a partial or total stretching or tearing of the ligaments, whose function is to join the bones and give stability to the ankle joints.

There are different reasons why a sprain can occur, but the most common are:

  • Running, walking, or exercising on uneven surfaces.
  • Losing balance after a jump or spin.
  • Receiving a stomp when practicing a sport.
  • Ankle sprain from fall.

Some factors increase the risk of suffering a sprain:

  • Sports activities, mainly contact sports.
  • Walking or running on uneven surfaces.
  • Lack of flexibility and strength in the ankles.
  • Presence of previous ankle injuries.
  • Wear uncomfortable shoes, with high heels or without ankle support.

Types of sprain:

There are three classes depending on the severity of the injury:

First degree: in which the ligaments are not torn, but there is swelling and pain in the affected area. With proper treatment, you can return quickly to your daily activities.

Second degree: there is a partial or total ligament rupture, in addition to the pain and inflammation being intense. There is also less ankle mobility.

Third degree: there is a total ligament rupture, severe pain, and foot mobility is almost null.

Signs and symptoms Ankle sprain

The symptoms depend on the severity of the injury, but the most frequent signs are:

  • Weakness.
  • Difficulty walking and moving the foot.
  • Pain, mainly when leaning on the affected foot.
  • Loss of stability and support in the ankle.
  • Inflammation.
  • Bruises.
  • Limited movement.

Generally, most ankle sprains are minor injuries, but it is always important to have the injury checked by an orthopedist to be safe and avoid complications.

Potential risks:

If an ankle sprain is not treated promptly and properly, it can lead to:

  • Chronic arthritis.
  • Permanent pain.
  • Definitive loss of joint stability.

Diagnosis and treatment Ankle sprain

Once they know your symptoms and your medical history, your doctor will perform a physical examination of the ankle to observe your sensitivity, ability to move, and degree of pain.

If your injury is of a certain severity, they will request imaging studies (X-rays, computed tomography, MRI, and ultrasound), to detail the damage to the ligament and verify that there is no fracture.

The treatment plan will depend on your injury, but it will mainly focus on minimizing symptoms (pain and swelling) with the use of painkillers and anti-inflammatories, rest for at least the first few days, application of cold compresses, and elevation of the leg. They can also recommend physiotherapy sessions and rehabilitation exercises for ligament regeneration and adequate ankle mobility. If your injury is severe, you may need surgery to repair a ligament that won’t heal with medication or physical therapy.

At the Orthopedics and Traumatology Center, we seek to improve the lives of patients restricted or immobilized by musculoskeletal disorders or injuries.

We specialize in the care of the locomotor system by integrating the latest medical, biological, and technological advances, in strict adherence to the highest international standards of patient care. We put our skills and knowledge at your service to provide you and your loved ones with cutting-edge treatments and highly specialized medical care in the following procedures:

  • Arthroscopic surgery.
  • Partial and total joint replacement surgery (prostheses).
  • Trauma surgery.
  • Hand surgery.
  • Foot and ankle surgery.
  • Spinal surgery.

We treat injuries such as:

  • Dislocation.
  • Chronic bone and joint diseases.
  • Ligaments.
  • Spinal diseases.
  • Joint replacements.


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  • myhealth.ucsd.edu
  • medigraphic.com
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    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.