Over one million people visit an emergency room or prompt care for ankle injuries per year, and the majority of these incidents are the result of a sprain. An ankle sprain generally involves an injury to the ligaments that stabilize the ankle, and connect the ankle to the foot. The lateral collateral ligaments on the outside of the ankle are considerably weaker than those on the inside of the ankle, and they are most often damaged during inversion types injuries, which occur when the ankle rolls outward, and the foot rotates inward under the ankle. A “high” ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments that secure the tibia to the fibula.
All ankle sprains result from a varying degree of damage to the lateral ankle ligaments, and these can be graded in severity on a scale of one to three. Grade one sprains result in only a stretch of the lateral ligament complex, but since there is no actual tear, the ankle joint remains stable. Conversely, in a Grade two injury, one of the ligaments are torn, which results in mild instability of the ankle joint. Subsequently, Grade three injuries involve a rupture of all of the lateral ankle ligaments. This results in moderate to severe instability of the ankle, and can also be associated with damage to the joint cartilage. Treatment in the acute phase varies according to grade, and ranges from simple bracing, or wearing a walking boot to compression cast immobilization for a short period of time — to control pain and swelling. Read More.