Ankle Sprain

Ankle Pain on Outside of Ankle (front or back) or Inside of Ankle (front or back)

What could be my problem?

An ankle sprain occurs when the strong ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits and tear.  Ankle sprains range from mild to severe depending on how much damage there is to the ligaments.  Most ankle sprains occur in the lateral ligaments, on the outside of the ankle.

Without proper treatment and rehabilitation, a more severe ankle sprain can weaken your ankle making it more likely to be injured again.  Repeated ankle sprains can lead to long-term problems, including chronic ankle pain, arthritis in your foot and ankle joints, and ongoing ankle instability.

What are common causes of an ankle sprain?

Twisting the foot and/or ankle unexpectedly due to:

  • Walking or exercising on uneven surfaces
  • Falling
  • Participating in sports that require cutting actions, or rolling/twisting of the foot such as during trail running, basketball, tennis, football, and soccer
  • Collision with another player while you are running, causing your foot to twist or roll to the side

I might have an ankle sprain, when should I see a foot doctor?

  • Pain and swelling of the foot and ankle
  • Bruising of the ankle
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Instability of the ankle

What are my ankle sprain treatment options?

Non-Surgical Treatment Options:

  • Rest
  • Cold therapy
  • Compression: the use of a brace or wrap to immobilize and support the ankle
  • Medication: non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Short-leg cast or a removable boot/brace
  • Physical therapy

Surgical Treatment Options:

For patients who experience persistent ankle instability after months of rehabilitation and non-surgical treatments, surgical options may include:

  • Arthroscopy: a small camera is used to look inside the ankle joint, while miniature instruments are used to remove any loose fragments of bone, cartilage, or parts of the ligament that may be caught in the ankle joint.
  • Reconstruction:  your foot surgeon may be able to repair the torn ligament with stitches or sutures.  The damaged ligament may be reconstructed by replacing it with a tissue graft obtained from other ligaments or tendons found in the foot and around the ankle.

Surgical options are followed by immobilization (hard or soft casting, limited weight bearing) and physical therapy. Personalized pain medication therapy will be prescribed as needed.