SPRAINED ANKLE OVERVIEW
A sprained ankle happens over 25,000 times a day. That’s over 9 million sprained ankles every year. Obviously, a lot of people get them through various activities, but it is actually the #1 most common sports related injury. An ankle injury generally occurs when there is a tear or rupture in the ligaments, which can include inversion, medial, or high ankle sprains, achilles tendon injuries, peroneal tendonitis, etc… Ankle sprains are graded on severity from grade 1 (mild) to grade 3 (severe – complete rupture).
The degree of the seriousness of your sprained ankle depends on how much force was placed on your foot when it twisted beyond it’s natural range of motion. Symptoms can range from mild to quite significant and generally include a moderate to severe amount of pain, swelling, reduced range of motion, weakness, and of course, bruising.
Research has shown that ankle rehab is the most effective way to heal a sprained ankle and works much faster and better than alternatives like R.I.C.E. (rest, ice compression, elevation), which have been proven to be ineffective at healing a sprained ankle. In contrast, a high quality rehab program improves ankle strength, stability and healthy range of motion and significantly reduces the risk of re-injury without the need for ankle braces, wraps or tape. (**American Journal of Physiology, Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, Journal of Athletic Training, etc.)
TYPES OF SPRAINED ANKLE
Inversion Sprain >> This type of sprained ankle occurs over 90% of the time. It’s also called a lateral ligament sprain, because it occurs on the outer side of the ankle joint. Right after the sprain, you will see swelling on the outside of the ankle. Bruising will happen a little bit later and you may or may not be able to walk on it at all.
High Ankle Sprain >> If you experience a high ankle sprain, the ligaments (syndesmosis) above the ankle take the brunt of the force and trauma. You will see swelling and bruising above the ankle and experience pain in this area as well. Again, it may be difficult to walk properly.
Medial Ligament Sprain >> With a medial sprain, the ankle experiences eversion and actually rolls inward and the ligaments on the inner part of the ankle get damaged. This type of sprain is rare, but like anything else, it can happen. Again, walking may be difficult right after the sprain.
The THREE Sprained Ankle Grades
Now, that we’ve covered the types of sprained ankles, let’s discuss the severity of the injury itself. Now, what determines that? Basically, the severity is determined by how much damage is done from the injury. In other words, how much force was placed on your ankle to cause damage to the ligaments and it scales from ONE to THREE. Let’s take a look…
GRADES OF SPRAINED ANKLE
Grade ONE Sprained Ankle
This is the least severe type of sprain… Immediately after the sprain, you should still be able to walk on the foot, even if you have to limp a little bit. The ligaments stretched too far and they may have torn a little bit, but the damage is pretty minimal. The swelling, bruising and pain will be mild to moderate.
Grade TWO Sprained Ankle
Obviously, a grade two sprain is much worse… The ankle will have undergone significantly more damage, including a fair amount of tearing. the ankle will be unstable and you may not be able to walk on it at all. You may feel some shooting pains every time you step on that foot. The bruising, pain and swelling can be pretty significant, so it’s important to take some time and make sure it heals properly.
Grade THREE Sprained Ankle
Oh boy… A grade three sprain is as bad as it gets for the ankle… Most likely, your ligaments completely tore or even ruptured (yikes!) and you will find that your ankle joint is incredibly unstable. There will be a tremendous amount of pain, swelling and bruising. With a grade three sprain, you will not be able to put any pressure or weight on that foot at all.
We always recommend getting an x-ray first, to rule out a fracture. While it is extremely important to begin a high quality rehab program as soon as possible, you cannot begin until a fracture has fully healed. So, the first thing to do is to figure out if you are ready for rehab, or if you need to immobilize the ankle for a while.
If you are ready for rehab, the good news is that no matter which type or grade of sprained ankle you experience, rehab will be of tremendous help. The MALIN METHOD is an easy way to naturally eliminate tennis elbow at home, in 3 easy steps, guaranteed. If you want to learn more about it, please click here: Ankle System or go see an excellent physical therapist.
But, don’t wait… The longer you wait to address that ankle injury, the longer it will take to heal.
The main goal is to fully heal the ankle joint so it gets back to full strength, with healthy range of motion and stability. That way, you will be able to move with speed and power, but safely and with natural protection from future ankle sprains and you won’t need restrictive equipment like ankle braces, wraps or tape.