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Ankle Sprain Grades and Treatment

ankle sprain

Ankle Sprain Types

Ankle sprain grades and treatment, what do you need to know?  There are 3 degrees of ankle sprain grades and the treatment is a little different for each degree.  But before we discuss ankle grade sprains and treatment, let's talk about ankle sprain types.  The type of ankle sprain is based upon location and the tissues involved.

Lateral ankle sprain: This is a common injury in athletes, making up 75% of all ankle sprains, and occurs when your ankle turns inwards.  The structure that is often affected and sprained is call the the anterior talo-fibular ligament, however other structures such as the calcaneofibular ligament, and the peroneal tendons can also be impacted as well.  The reason lateral ankle sprains are more common is because of how the ankle is structured.  A bony piece called the lateral malleolus prevents your foot from rolling too far outwards, but there is not much stopping the foot from rolling inwards.

Medial ankle sprain: These make up a smaller portion of ankle sprains, about 25%, and occurs when your ankle turns outwards.  The deltoid ligament is often affected with this kind of sprain, however, it's not uncommon to see injury of the posterior tibialis, a muscle that helps you turn your foot inwards.  As mentioned above, there are bony structures that make this type of ankle sprain less likely, however, this also means if this type of sprain does happen, the bony structure has likely been fractured.  Isolated medial ankle sprains are rare.

High ankle sprain (Syndesmotic Sprain): This type of ankle sprain makes up approximately 6% of acute ankle sprains and occurs when the foot is flexed towards your face and rotated outwards.  These typically take the longest to heal because it affects what's known as the tibiofibular syndemosis, a thick web of connective tissue that holds the two bones in the lower leg together. 

How Common Are Ankle Sprains?

Did you know ankle sprains are one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries?  In fact, ankle sprains are common, making up about 25% of all sports-related injuries.  Even though a majority of ankle sprains occur during athletic activity, ankle sprains can occur at any age.  Most ankle sprains (Grade 1 and Grade 2; see next section)  will recover within 4-6 weeks with the proper treatment. 

Ankle Sprain Treatment

We always start off with an interview to get to know you and what type of problem you’re having. After that, we will do a physical examination to assess your ankle strength, balance, range of motion, and for ligament laxity, as well as your overall function. We will also assess the knees and hips to determine if those areas are contributing to your problem. Then we end off with a few targeted exercises to begin the process of getting you back to activity. This process may be impacted by a few factors such as how severe the ankle sprain was. The severity of an ankle sprain is determined based on a grading system from 1-3 with 1 being a mild ligament sprain, 2 moderate ligament sprain, and 3 being a complete ligament tear. The healing process alone for a grade 1 sprain can take 1-3 weeks and a grade 3 sprain up to several months, however you should allow for additional time to strengthen the ankle muscles to reduce chance of re-injury upon returning to sports or activity.
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Before: I had a stress fracture in my L2 vertebrae with immense pain. I couldn’t perform in gymnastics like I used too. Now: I have no pain whatsoever and perform how I like. Backwalkovers with no pain! I never thought I’d have no pain again.
- M. DiBona
I am so grateful to you and your staff for the significant improvement I experienced under your supervision. When I first came to you, I was suffering extreme pain in both my shoulders and my hips, and now I can honestly say that I have regained a great deal of strength and flexibility in those areas. I owe it all to your professionalism, guidance, and expertise. Thank you so much for all your kindness.
- Fran R.
I want to thank Paul Vidal for helping me control my vertigo! Because of your treatment I have been able to continue running and was thrilled to be able to run the Broad St. race with my daughter! I can’t thank you enough.
- G. Thompson
Paul is great. He takes good care of our patients. The patients love him! I have sent several family members to him.
- Samir Shah, M.D., F.A.C.S.
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Burlington, NJ 08016
P: 609-880-0880
1919 Greentree Road, Suite B
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
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