Ankle sprains often occur when a person rolls their foot inward. This results in pain that is localized on the outside of the foot and/or lower leg. The severity of ankle sprains depends on the degree or grade of ligamentous involvement. An ankle sprain ranges from grade I to grade III.
- Grade I ankle sprain (mild) is defined as a few fibers of a ligament is torn. These individuals will have minimal swelling, and point tenderness. They usually will not have a limp, but if present it will be minimal. They typically recover in 2-10 days following injury.
- Grade II ankle sprain (moderate) is defined as about half of the ligament(s) are torn. These individuals will have mild to moderate instability, hemorrhage and localized swelling. They will have a significant limp when walking. They will also be unable to raise up on their toes, hop or run. The recovery is usually 10-30 days.
- Grade III ankle sprain (severe) is defined as all fibers of the ligament(s) are torn. These individuals will have significant instability, diffuse swelling around the foot and ankle, tenderness on both sides of the ankle, inability to put weight on the foot, and loss of range of motion. The recovery period ranges from 30-90 days.
The treatment frequency and duration that is involved with ankle sprains depends on the severity of the sprain. Ankle sprains can be treated with soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, progressive resistive exercises, flexibility exercises, proprioceptive and kinesthesia training, range of motion exercises, modalities such as iontophoresis, ultrasound, ice and electrical stimulation.