- Walking or exercising on an uneven surface
- Falling down
- Participating in sports that require cutting actions or rolling and twisting of the foot—such as trail running, basketball, tennis, football, and soccer
Most sprains are minor injuries that heal with home treatments like rest and applying ice. However, if your ankle is very swollen and painful to walk on — or if you are having trouble putting weight on your ankle at all, be sure to see Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA) team foot and ankle specialist.
Symptoms of an Ankle Sprain may include:
- Limited range of motion
Without proper treatment and rehabilitation, a more severe sprain can weaken your ankle—making it more likely that you will injure it again. Repeated ankle sprains can lead to long-term problems, including chronic ankle pain, arthritis, and ongoing instability.
An Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA) foot and ankle specialists will conduct the following to obtain the proper diagnosis to start immediate treatment for a quicker recovery:
- Obtain a medical history to check for risk factors
- Perform a physical examination to check for symptoms and test ankle strength and flexibility
- Order and analyze x-rays (to rule out a fracture) or MRI
After the examination, the OPA foot and ankle specialist will determine the grade of your sprain to help develop a treatment plan. Sprains are graded based on how much damage has occurred to the ligaments.
Grade 1 Sprain (Mild)
- Slight stretching and microscopic tearing of the ligament fibers
- Mild tenderness and swelling around the ankle
Grade 2 Sprain (Moderate)
- Partial tearing of the ligament
- Moderate tenderness and swelling around the ankle
- If the OPA specialist moves the ankle in certain ways, there is an abnormal looseness of the ankle joint
Grade 3 Sprain (Severe)
- A complete tear of the ligament
- Significant tenderness and swelling around the ankle
- If the OPA specialist pulls or pushes on the ankle joint in certain movements, substantial instability occurs
A treatment plan is prescribed after a formal diagnosis is made. OPA foot and ankle specialists treatment plans are tailored to your symptoms and lifestyle.