Ankle sprains are common injuries that occur when you twist or roll your ankle. This can happen while walking, exercising, falling, jumping, or pivoting. A sprain means you have stretched your ligaments excessively, and ligaments are what connect your bones together. When the ligaments are stretched beyond their limits, you will notice pain, swelling, bruising, limited motion, and instability at the ankle. The most common ankle sprains occur on the outer ankle at the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) or calcaneofibular ligament (CFL), but they can occur on the inside of the ankle at the deltoid ligament.
The anterior talofibular ligament connects the talus, or ankle bone, to the fibula. This is the most commonly injured ligament in the ankle. This ligament resists inversion, forward translation, and gets tight during plantarflexion of the foot. It is commonly sprained through forceful inversion.
The calcaneofibular ligament is slightly behind the ATFL and attaches the lateral malleolus to the fibula. It is less commonly sprained than the anterior talofibular ligament due to its location, meaning that injury to this ligament would require increased forceful inversion.
The deltoid ligament is on the inside of the ankle, and it is considered to be the strongest of all the ankle ligaments. Due to its strength, it is more common to have a fracture of the medial malleolus than to sprain the deltoid ligament. Forceful eversion of the foot leads to injury of this ligament.
If you’ve suffered an ankle sprain, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to avoid any long term effects related to the injury. Once you’ve sprained your ankle, you are predisposed to further ankle injuries. At physical therapy, you will work on range of motion, strength, stability, and balance. Your physical therapist will develop a home exercise program, as well, to ensure the best results.
Ankle sprains can seem incredibly debilitating and cause you to be unable to work, play sports, or even walk without pain. These injuries can be prevented in some cases. Performing a warm up before exercise can reduce the risk of ankle sprains. Ankle braces or supports may prevent an ankle injury if you already have a history of ankle sprains. Wearing shoes that fit properly will also reduce the risk of ankle sprains.
If you are having pain in your ankle or have been diagnosed with an ankle sprain, please come see us for a free consultation to see how we can assist you in your recovery. To request an appointment, click here, or call directly to one of our three locations during regular business hours:
Cool Springs: 615-224-9810
Spring Hill: 931-489-2022