Ankle Sprains


Foot Ankle Sprains | Fort Myers, Florida Center for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction

Ankle sprains account for 40% of all athletic injuries and 10% of all ER visits.

Lateral ankle sprains are the most common and involves the outside aspect of the ankle.

Medial ankle sprain or injury to the inside aspect of the ankle and high ankle sprains are less common and are associated with a poorer prognosis with longer recovery times.

Cause of Ankle Sprains


Twisting of the foot or getting the foot caught up underneath the body during a walking or running.  Ankle injuries are common during sporting activity, but other common mechanisms include stepping into a hole in the ground, stepping off of a street curb or going down stairs.

Sprained Ankle Symptoms and Signs


  • Many people may hear a ‘pop’ during the injury.
  • BRUISING after these ankle injuries are common and are of particular significance.
  • Swelling, pain, numbness/tingling/burning sensations are also common and do improve with time.
  • The inability to bear weight after ankle injury is also one of the more significant sprained ankle symptoms.

Diagnostic Testing for Ankle Sprains


  • Xrays are needed to rule out fracture.
  • Ankle sprains are more common in adults whereas growth plate fractures are more common in children because ligaments are generally stronger than their growth plates.
  • Stress xrays are used to assess for ligament instability.
  • MRI is sometimes needed to assess for damage to ligaments, tendons and joint cartilage.  These are typically ordered if the patient fails to show progress with the initial conservative treatment. If a high ankle sprain is suspected, an MRI or CT scan may be ordered initially.

Treatment of the Sprained Ankle


  • Rest, ice, compression, elevation (This is often referred to as RICE).
  • Mild ankle sprains are treated with braces that provide compression and support, but allow for controlled ankle motion to prevent stiffness.
  • Severe ankle sprains associated with significant bruising and swelling are sometimes immobilized for a period of time to allow proper ligament healing before physical therapy is begun.
  • Surgery is sometimes needed to repair/reconstruct torn ligaments that did not properly heal with conservative treatment.