High Ankle Sprains
What is a high ankle sprain?
A sprained ankle is the stretching or tearing of ankle ligaments, which support the joint by connecting bones to each other. A sprain occurs when your ankle is forced to move out of its normal position, which can cause one or more of the ankle’s ligaments to stretch, partially tear or tear completely.
Dr. Grant Lum, MD, CCFP, Dip Sports Med, Sports Medicine Physician, discusses treatment and prevention of high ankle sprains.
Dr. Tony Taylor, MD, EMBA, Emergency Physician, discusses treatment of ankle injuries.
Dale Harris discusses orthotic options for bracing ankle injuries.
Ankle and Lower Leg Bracing and Injuries
If you’ve got a fracture in your foot, or your lower leg, you have to determine what type of walker boot you need.
If you’ve got a fracture that’s in the forefoot, be it fifth metatarsal fracture, a stress fracture, maybe a bunion surgery recovery, the ankle walkers are a great product for this.
There’s a variety of different models that are available. We really like this one because it’s got a nice rocker profile on the bottom, three straps, and a nice wide base for support.
If you’ve got a lower leg fracture or a rear foot fracture, malleolar fracture, talus fracture, one of the things you want to look for is a longer boot that offers more support through the rear foot or leg, with the three straps on the front, again a nice wide base on the bottom and a great rocker profile.
When you’re ready to try on a walker boot, it’s really important to try some different ones on, they range in price quite dramatically, go to an experienced store and let them help determine what type of walker boot.
Local Practitioners: Bracing & Equipment Specialist
The treatment and prevention of high ankle sprains
One variant of the typical ankle sprain, which is more serious, is the high ankle sprain.
So this involves a sprain of different ligaments. These are the ligaments that attach these two bones together, so the tibia and the fibula, and also the ligament that wraps around the front of the ankle and holds the tendons in place.
When those ligaments are sprained, it can make the entire ankle complex unstable causing these bones to spread apart from one another. So in a third degree or complete tear of those ligaments, a screw needs to be placed across these bones in order to hold them back together.
Most high ankle sprains that are less severe will require a few weeks of not bearing weight on the foot. So typically people will have to use crutches. Once you’re allowed to bear weight, then it takes somewhere between four and six weeks to be able to go back to do most of your normal activities.
With more serious injuries that requires surgery, you may not be weight-bearing for up to six weeks and then another six to 12 weeks after that before you can resume activity. The typical treatment for lesser sprains would include ice, anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy, and of course in terms of diagnosing these injuries, sometimes you will need an x-ray.
There are times where these kinds of injuries are hard to pick up even on an x-ray, and we may need to do an MRI, for example. The best way to prevent these kinds of injuries typically would be to make you’re doing a good ankle strengthening and balance program in advance of starting your season.
If you think you have a high ankle sprain or have more questions, you could consult a sports medicine physician or a physiotherapist.
Local Practitioners: Sports Medicine Physician
Larissa Roux, MD FRCP Dip Sport Med, MPH, PhD, discusses eversion ankle sprains in hockey.
Larissa Roux, MD FRCP Dip Sport Med, MPH, PhD, discusses ankle sprains, a common sports injury.