Are you struggling with a painful ankle sprain? At New Mexico Foot & Ankle Institute, we understand how a sprained ankle can disrupt your daily life and keep you from the activities you love. Our team of skilled podiatrists is here to provide expert diagnosis and treatment, getting you back on your feet quickly and safely.

What is an Ankle Sprain?

An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments that support your ankle stretch or tear due to sudden twisting or rolling of the ankle. This common injury can range from mild to severe, causing pain, swelling, and difficulty walking.

Causes of Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains typically occur when the ankle is forced out of its normal position due to sudden, unexpected movements. Common causes include awkward landings on uneven surfaces, rapid changes in direction during sports, rolling of the ankle inward or outward, and external forces like collisions in contact sports.

Factors that increase the risk of ankle sprains include weak or unstable ankles from previous injuries, improper footwear, lack of warm-up before physical activity, fatigue, and poor balance or proprioception. Certain medical conditions, like peripheral neuropathy, can also contribute to a higher risk of sprains.

Additionally, walking or running on irregular terrain, stepping in holes, or wearing high heels can lead to ankle sprains. Overuse or repetitive stress on the ankle can weaken ligaments over time, making them more susceptible to injury. Understanding these causes is crucial for implementing effective prevention strategies, such as proper warm-up routines, using appropriate footwear, and strengthening ankle stability through targeted exercises.

Signs You May Have an Ankle Sprain:

  • Pain, especially when putting weight on the affected foot
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Limited range of motion
  • Instability in the ankle
  • Popping sensation or sound at the time of injury

Types of Ankle Sprains

Lateral Ankle Sprain: The most common type, accounting for about 80% of all ankle sprains. It occurs when the foot rolls inward, stretching or tearing the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle. The anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) is often involved, sometimes along with the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL).

Medial Ankle Sprain: Less common, occurring when the foot rolls outward, damaging the strong deltoid ligament on the inside of the ankle. These sprains are often more severe due to the strength of the deltoid ligament.

High Ankle Sprain (Syndesmotic Sprain): Affects the ligaments that connect the tibia and fibula above the ankle joint. It often results from rotating or twisting the foot outward. These sprains can be more severe and typically take longer to heal.

Sprains are typically graded based on severity:

Grade I (Mild): Slight stretching and microscopic tearing of ligament fibers. Mild pain, swelling, and tenderness.

Grade II (Moderate): Partial tearing of ligament fibers. Moderate pain, swelling, and difficulty walking.

Grade III (Severe): Complete tear of the ligament. Severe pain, swelling, bruising, and instability in the ankle.

Understanding the type and grade of sprain is crucial for proper treatment and recovery.

Why Choose New Mexico Foot & Ankle Institute for Your Ankle Sprain?

  1. Expert Diagnosis: Our state-of-the-art facility in Albuquerque is equipped with advanced diagnostic tools to accurately assess your ankle injury.
  2. Personalized Treatment Plans: We tailor our treatment approach to your specific needs, ensuring the fastest and most effective recovery possible.
  3. Comprehensive Care: From initial diagnosis to full recovery, we're with you every step of the way.
  4. Experienced Team: Our podiatrists have years of experience treating ankle sprains in patients of all ages and activity levels.
  5. Focus on Long-Term Health: We don't just treat your immediate pain; we work to prevent future injuries and improve your overall foot and ankle health.

Our Ankle Sprain Treatment Approach:

  • Accurate Diagnosis: We use physical examination and, when necessary, imaging studies to determine the severity of your sprain.
  • Immediate Pain Relief: We offer treatments to reduce pain and swelling, allowing you to start healing comfortably.
  • Custom Treatment Plans: Depending on the severity of your sprain, we may recommend:
    • RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
    • Physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises
    • Bracing or supportive devices
    • In severe cases, surgical repair
  • Prevention Strategies: We provide education on proper footwear, exercises to strengthen your ankles, and techniques to prevent future sprains.

Surgical Treatment

Surgical treatment of the ankle ligaments or associated injury conditions are performed when instability develops later or the injury is severe enough initially that stabilization must be done to allow for proper healing. For more information, see one of the Doctors of New Mexico Foot & Ankle Institute.

Don't Let an Ankle Sprain Keep You Down

Whether you're an athlete, a weekend warrior, or simply experienced an unfortunate twist, don't ignore ankle pain. Early treatment is key to preventing chronic ankle instability and repeated injuries.

Tyler Hille
Experienced Albuquerque podiatrist specializing in preventing and treating foot and ankle pain.