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Ankle Sprain

Definition

An ankle sprain is a partial or complete tear of the ligaments that support the ankle. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that cross joints and connect bones to each other.
Sprained Ankle
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Causes

Ankle sprains may be caused by:

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of getting an ankle sprain include:

Symptoms

Symptoms of an ankle sprain may include:

Diagnosis

An ankle sprain may not require a visit to the doctor. However, you should call your doctor if you have any of the following:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and how your injury occurred. An examination of your ankle will be done to assess the injury.
Images may need to be taken of your ankle. This can be done with:
Ankle sprains are graded according to the damage to the ligaments. The more ligaments involved, the more severe the injury.

Grade 1

  • Some minor tearing of ligament tissue
  • Ankle remains stable

Grade 2

  • Partial tearing of ligament tissue
  • Mild instability of the joint
  • Usually involves damage to 2 ankle ligaments

Grade 3

  • Complete tearing of 2 or 3 of the ligaments
  • Significant instability of the joint

Treatment

Most sprains heal well. Treatment for a sprained ankle includes:
If you have an ankle sprain, follow your doctor's instructions .

Prevention

Many ankle sprains cannot be prevented. However, you can reduce your risk of spraining an ankle:

RESOURCES

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.aaos.org

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org

References

Ankle sprain. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated January 18, 2013. Accessed April 4, 2013.

Kemler E, van de Port I, et al. A systematic review on the treatment of acute ankle sprain: brace versus other functional treatment types. Sports Med . 2011;41(3):185-197.

Kerkhoffs GM, Handoll HH, et al. Surgical versus conservative treatment for acute injuries of the lateral ligament complex of the ankle in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev . 2007 Apr 18;(2):CD000380.

Renstrom, P, IOC Medical Commission, International Federation of Sports Medicine. Sports Injuries: Basic Principles of Prevention and Care . Boston, MA: Blackwell Scientific Publications; 1993.

Sprained ankle. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00150 . Updated September 2012. Accessed April 4, 2013.

Sprains and strains. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Sprains%5FStrains/default.asp . Published July 2012. Accessed April 4, 2013.

10/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Massey T, Derry S, Moore R, McQuay H. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.

11/19/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : van Rijn RM, van Ochten J, Luijsterburg PA, van Middelkoop M, Koes BW, Bierma-Zeinstra SM. Effectiveness of additional supervised exercises compared with conventional treatment alone in patients with acute lateral ankle sprains: systematic review. BMJ. 2010;341:c5688.

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