Ankle ligament injuries occur most commonly while participating in sports. However, walking in a high heeled shoe or tripping off of a step can often cause a twisting to the ankle, causing injury to one or more of the ligaments in the ankle joint.
When injuries occur it is important for these ligaments to heal appropriately so that chronic pain and instability do not develop. It is especially important in young teenagers and athletes who want to participate in sports without the ankle constantly giving way.
Common Ankle Ligament Injuries & Treatments
GRADE I (MILD)
Stretching injury to the ligaments causing pain, mild swelling, tenderness and mild pain when walking.
GRADE I (MILD) TREATMENT:
Rest, ice, and ankle brace.
GRADE I (MILD) PROGNOSIS: Excellent, full recovery expected within 4-6 weeks
GRADE II (MODERATE)
Partial tearing of the ligament causing pain, moderate swelling, tenderness and it is difficult to bear weight without pain
GRADE II (MODERATE) TREATMENT:
Rest, ice, immobilization in boot or cast and physical therapy
GRADE II (MODERATE) PROGNOSIS: Excellent. Full recovery is expected with physical therapy and bracing.
GRADE III (SEVERE)
Complete tear to the ligaments in the ankle joint region. Severe pain with diffuse tenderness, swelling and discoloration to the ankle joint. Difficulty weight bearing is a clue to the severity to the injury.
GRADE III (SEVERE) TREATMENT:
Immobilization in a cast for 4 to 6 weeks, followed by physical therapy and ankle bracing to allow a full return to activity.
GRADE III (SEVERE) PROGNOSIS: Excellent with full recovery expected IF the injury is treated IMMEDIATELY and followed with therapy and bracing.
The ankle easily twists and rolls over with walking and during sports, causing pain, swelling and stiffness to the ankle.
CHRONIC INSTABILITY TREATMENT:
Aggressive physical therapy, and custom ankle bracing.
CHRONIC INSTABILITY PROGNOSIS: Good if the damage that exists is not severe. Surgery may be necessary to reconstruct the ligaments and allow full recovery.
Swelling in the ankle joint that becomes chronic due to a history of ankle sprains or fracture. Stiffness in the ankle is present in the morning or after getting up from sitting that loosens with walking but low grade pain still persists.
IMPINGEMENT SYNDROME TREATMENT:
Medication, therapy, and bracing for mild injuries.
Arthroscopic surgery may be necessary to adequately alleviate symptoms.