What is an Ankle Sprain?
An ankle sprain is a stretching or tearing of one or more ligaments in the ankle. Ligament are bands of fibrous tissue that connect one bone to another and function to stabilize joints. This injury usually occurs when walking or exercising on an uneven surface or landing awkwardly from a jump. This injury can be on the inside or more commonly on the outside of the ankle.
The severity of an ankle sprain is determined by the degree of injury to the affected ligament. The ligament can be stretched, partially torn, or completely torn. Multiple ligaments may also be involved.
If an initial ankle sprain is untreated or is improperly treated, the ankle ligaments may heal in a stretched or lengthened position. Sometimes, the ligaments may not heal at all. If the ligament does not healed correctly or if you suffer from repeated ankle sprains, the ankle sprain may progress to a condition called “chronic ankle instability.” This condition is characterized by a recurring giving way of the outside of the ankle. Usually, the giving way occurs during ambulation or other impact activities.
Symptoms of Acute Ankle Sprain
- Pain or soreness
- Difficulty walking
- Limited ability to move the affected joint
- Hearing or feeling a “pop” in your joint at the time of injury
Symptoms of chronic ankle instability
- A repeated turning of the ankle, especially on uneven surfaces
- A repeated twisting of the ankle, especially on uneven surfaces or when participating in athletic activities
- Constant swelling in the ankle
- Pain or tenderness
- Feelings of instability