It's football season again. Friday night lights, tailgates, and Sunday Night Football is back. So are injuries. Concussions, ACL tears and ankle sprains to name a few. We often hear of the term "high ankle sprain". So what is a high ankle sprain? I found a great video from Dr. Lane that perfectly describes what this problem is and how we go about treating these injuries.
To begin a high ankle sprain is more serious than a lateral ankle sprain. A lateral ankle sprain is relatively common and easy to treat. This is a strain of the ligaments on the outermost or lateral aspect of the ankle. These ligaments simply get stretched beyond their usual length causing some tearing of this connective tissue. The signs and symptoms are usually pain and swelling. Sometimes there is discoloration, tenderness to palpation and painful range of motion and limited strength. This problem is normally treated with physical therapy including "RICE", Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. These injuries heal rather quickly and many times the athlete can play through these injuries with the help of taping and external ankle supports.
A high ankle sprain involves not only the lateral ankle ligaments but also the ligament on the medial or inside of the ankle and more importantly the ligament higher up in the leg that connects the tibia and fibula. This is called the syndesmosis. This is a more serious injury and may require immobilization or even surgery. The good news is that the expected outcome is very good. Even if the athlete requires surgery they may be ready to return to active game situations within 3 months following surgery. Naturally the Orthopaedic surgeon will normally require a course of physical therapy following the surgical intervention.
If you have any questions regarding lateral or high ankle sprains please do not hesitate to contact our office.