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Types of Ankle Sprains and How They Heal

If you want to see a serious ankle sprain in progress, search the internet for “Michael Thomas ankle injury.” Thomas is a star wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints. Recently, another player landed forcefully onto a moving Thomas’s left ankle. When you see a photo of that moment, it’s hard to see Thomas’s foot because it’s in such an awkward position.

Awkward falling can very easily cause a sprained ankle, whether you’re a professional athlete or a regular Jane or Joe. When your ankle twists out of position, the ligaments that keep the large bones of the ankle in place stretch much further than designed to stretch. And that, Fairfax County friends and patients, is the definition of an ankle sprain.

Types of ankle sprains

Michael Thomas has a high ankle sprain. That means the overstretched ligaments are located just above the ankle and between the fibula and tibia bones. Most of the ankle sprains we see at our Centreville, Virginia podiatry office involve lower ligaments, typically on the outside of the ankle.

Podiatrists like Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm put ankle sprains into categories based on how bad the injury is. A grade 1 sprain is a stretched ligament. A grade 2 sprain also involves partial tearing. A grade 3 sprain means the ligament is completely torn.

Treatment for ankle sprains and how they heal

Treatment for all ankle sprains begins with resting, icing, elevating, and wrapping the ankle. Depending on the severity, we might also prescribe

  • prescription-strength medication to keep the swelling down
  • a walking boot
  • physical therapy to regain strength and range of motion in the ankle.

Some ankle sprains take a longer time to heal than others. Still others, including many high ankle sprains, may require ankle surgery. Dr. Wilhelm is board-certified in both general podiatry and foot and ankle surgery. For excellent, professional diagnosis and treatment of ankle sprains, call Clifton Foot & Ankle Center at (703) 996-3000 or make an appointment online.

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