Ankle Sprains

March Madness has begun and ankle sprains are very common with basketball players. Learn how to recognize and properly treat different grades of ankle sprains.

Ankle sprains can be graded I, II, or III. Grade I is a partial tear of a ligament. There is mild tenderness and swelling. You will be able to stand on the injured ankle with minimal pain. Grade II is an incomplete tear of the ligament. There will be moderate pain, swelling, bruising, and tenderness. You will have pain when you try to stand or walk with the injured ankle. A Grade III ankle sprain is a complete tear of the ligament. There will be severe swelling and bruising, and you will be unable to stand on the injured ankle.

Most ankle sprains are caused by forcing the toes and foot down in combination with an inward rotation. This makes the most easily injured ligament the anterior talofibular ligament. There are two other ligaments on the outside of the ankle and one more on the inside of the ankle that are at risk for injury. Another ankle sprain that is typically more significant in severity and recovery time is a high ankle sprain. The pain is generally above the ankle joint and walking on it causes more pain with each step.

Treatment should include compression, rest, and elevation. If you suspect that you have a more serious ankle sprain, you should seek medical attention to evaluate the need for surgery or immobilization. Exercises should aim at improving range of motion and strength. As rehabilitation progresses the exercises should include proprioceptive training and functional activity.

Be sure to take care of an ankle sprain properly from the beginning. You are more susceptible to re-injury after the first time. Get yourself back in the game during March Madness!

See the following article for additional resources on ankle sprains:

–  Treatment and rehabilitation of ankle sprains:  ankle sprain info

– Prevention of ankle sprains:  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sprained-ankle/basics/prevention/con-20032428

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