What is an Ankle Sprain?

Each year, thousands of athletes and weekend warriors suffer ankle sprains. Many of these ankle sprains are caused by landing where the ankle gets turned inward, stretching the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle. If you read our previous blog post about sprains and strains, you know what a sprain is and you know something about ligaments.

Lateral view of the human ankle, including the...

Injured structures: There are three commonly injured ankle ligaments during a lateral ankle sprain. In order of most to least injured: the ATFL (anterior talofibular ligament), the calcaneofibular ligament, and PTFL (posterior talofibular ligament). These are all located on the outside or lateral part of your ankle.

Symptoms: Ankle sprains usually cause swelling, pain, and a loss of special awareness of the ankle (called kinesthesia). As with almost any injury, the pain and swelling are expected by most. The loss of awareness is usually not expected. Each ligament has nerve fibers that detect stretch and alert the body to the position of the ankle. Each time you have an ankle sprain, some of those nerve fibers are damaged and you lose some of your ability to know the position of your ankle. This is why, after an ankle sprain, people are prone to repeated ankle sprains.

Treatments: Please refer to our blog post about the different treatments for sprains. In addition to those treatments; which are aimed at pain reduction, swelling reduction, and improving strength and range of motion; a comprehensive balance program should be included in an ankle rehab program. This balance program will help reduce the chance of future ankle sprains.

No matter your level of function, ankle sprains can often be successfully taken care of with physical therapy treatment. If you have further questions about these injuries, or think you may need physical therapy for any injury, call us at (210) 888-1278; we would love to help you get back to where you want to be!