There are differing levels of ankle sprains, and one of these is called a “high ankle sprain” because the injury is above the ankle joint. High ankle sprains are much less common than a traditional ankle sprain.
An ankle sprain injury is tearing and damage to ligaments that connect bones or the ankle joint. In a high ankle sprain, the injured ligaments are above the ankle rather than outside the ankle joint and connect the tibia to the fibula. Activities like walking and running put a lot of force on this area.
High ankle sprains are caused by rotational or twisting injuries, for example when your foot is planted on the ground and then is forced outwards while twisting. These injuries commonly occur in sports that require quick changes of direction, such soccer and handball, or where athletes jump and land among others as in basketball and volleyball. Skiing accidents can also cause a high ankle sprain when the bindings don’t release during a fall.
Diagnosing a High Ankle Sprain
If you have a high ankle sprain, you will have pain just above the level of the ankle. You may observe swelling and bruising on the front and outside of the ankle.
Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM urges you to come into our office right away if you have serious ankle pain. We’ll carefully examine your foot and ankle, including a squeeze test just below the knee to see if your pain radiates to the area of the high ankle ligaments. Another test called the external rotation test will look for pain in the affected area when your foot is turned outside while your knee is bent.
We’ll also take x-rays right in our office to assess whether any bones are broken. An MRI or CT scan can give us more information on the damage.
Treating a High Ankle Sprain
High ankle sprains can take much longer to heal than typical sprains. If there are no broken bones, R.I.C.E. treatment will relieve pain and inflammation and promote healing:
- Rest the leg,
- Apply Ice for 20 minutes every 2-3 hours,
- Use an ACE wrap to apply Compression, and
- Elevate the leg with the toes higher than your nose.
Using a walking boot during the healing process can help relieve pain and pressure.
If there is a broken bone and based on the x-rays, surgery may be needed for complete healing.
It may be 6-7 weeks before you can return to all your activities including sports and workouts. Physical therapy can help ease stiffness and strengthen the ligaments and muscles.
We Can Help Resolve Any Foot or Ankle Injuries
Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist has the right experience to diagnose and treat all types of foot and ankle injuries, including high ankle sprains. Many treatments and surgeries can be addressed right here in our office. Please call our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website. Don’t wait to address an ankle injury – get help today!