Three Types of Ankle Sprains: Degrees of Severity Can Vary

Ankle sprains are a common injury. While this injury occurs quite often, the degree of severity can vary person to person. If you know the signs and symptoms of each degree of ankle sprain, you’ll be able to find the proper treatment you need.

A sprained ankle can occur quite easily. Just a quick sideways or twisting movement is all it takes to sprain an ankle. Athletes aren’t the only ones at risk. Everyday activities can lead to an ankle sprain. An uneven surface or clumsy step can lead to this most common ankle injury. Understanding the injury and the degrees of an ankle sprain will get you on the road to a fast recovery.

How an Ankle Can Get Sprained

Any movement that suddenly twists the foot beyond the natural range of motion can cause an ankle sprain such as...

  • Landing wrong when jumping or running on to an uneven surface.
  • Stepping off a curb wrong
  • Slipping on ice
  • Tripping on a hole in the ground

What Has Happened to the Ankle

When an ankle is sprained, the ankle bone itself is uninjured. It is the ligaments surrounding the ankle bone that suffer. Ligaments are structures in every joint in the body that help control the joint’s movement. The ligament will become injured if it is stretched too far and could result in a partial or complete tear. There are two different types of an ankle sprain.

  • The inversion ankle sprain is the most common type of sprain and occurs when the foot falls inward and stretches the outer ligaments too far. Pain occurs on the outside of the ankle and not on the inside of the ankle.
  • The eversion ankle sprain occurs when the foot is twisted outwards and the inner ligament is stretched too far. Pain will occur on the inside, and not the outside, of the ankle.

The Severity of the Ankle Sprain

3 grades of ankle sprains

First degree symptoms – a first degree ankle sprain is when the ligaments have been stretched but not torn. Symptoms include:

  • Mild pain
  • Some swelling
  • Some joint instability
  • Mild joint stiffness
  • Difficulty jogging or jumping

Second degree symptoms – a second degree ankle sprain is the most common of ankle injuries and is a partial tearing of the ligament. Symptoms include:

  • Significant swelling
  • Bruising
  • Moderate pain
  • Some loss of motion or use of the ankle
  • Trouble walking

Third degree symptoms - a third degree ankle sprain is the most severe of ankle injuries. With this sprain, the ligament has been torn completely. Symptoms include:

  • Severe swelling
  • Severe pain
  • Instability of the joint
  • Extreme loss of motion
  • Walking can be quite painful

Treatment for Ankle Sprains

Rest – especially in the first 24 to 48 hours
Ice – for the first 48 hours for 20 minutes at a time
Compression – wear a brace or a wrap that is snug, but not cutting off circulation
Elevate – above the heart as often as possible

The RICE method is quite effective in treating a sprained ankle, but if you are looking for more stability and comfort while walking, a brace may be what you need. The Aircast Air-stirrup Ankle Brace is the #1 doctor prescribed ankle brace in history and has been cited in more than 100 medical journals for its superior performance in helping to heal ankle injuries. Each brace has anatomically designed shells lined with the patented Duplex aircell system that provides support and produce graduated compression during ambulation.

There are Many Types of Ankle Injuries

An ankle sprain is a very common injury. If you think you may be suffering from an ankle sprain, be sure to review your symptoms with your doctor to determine if you are in fact suffering from an ankle sprain, what degree of ankle sprain you are dealing with, and what the proper treatment is that will put you on the road to a quick recovery. Use this visual guide to get a better understanding of your ankle sprain.

Braces for Ankle Sprains

Grade I Sprain: Aircast A60

Grade II Sprain: Aircast Airsport

Grade III Sprain: Aircast Airselect Short Walking Boot or DonJoy Velocity