OrthoNeuro Blog

12 Jul

Is your Ankle Sprained, Strained, or Worse?

by Courtney Gittins

Ankle injuries are some of the most common injures to the body. Over 5 million ankle injuries occur in the US each year.  Both sprains and Ankle Sprainstrains are fairly frequent, especially in athletes. A sprain is a stretch or tear of a ligament. The severity of the injury depends on if the tear is partial or full and how many ligaments are affected. A strain is a muscle or tendon injury. It can range from a slight overstretch, to a complete tear. A significant injury to your ankle may result in a fracture (broken ankle).


Typically occurs from twist, fall, or blow to the body (ex. landing on outside of your foot).  Most common in ankle (More than 628,000 ankle sprains occur in US each year), knee, and wrists.


  • Discomfort or pain
  • Inflammation
  • Bruising
  • Instability

Sprains are categorized by severity:

  • Grade I (mild sprain) : caused by overstretching or slight tear of the ligaments
  • Grade II  (moderate sprain) : caused by greater tearing of the ligament and shows bruising, moderate pain, and swelling
  • Grade III (severe sprain) : complete tear or rupture a ligament. Pain, swelling, and bruising are pretty apparent, and the patient is unable to put complete weight on the joint
Initial Treatment: rest, ice, compression,rest, and elevation (RICE). Ankle sprains that limit your ability to bear weight on the affected side should be evaluated by an orthopedic specialist.


Muscle injury commonly resulting from strenuous activity (overuse, stretching, force) Also known as "muscle pull', can result in muscle tear.


  • Pain
  • Muscle spasm
  • Muscle weakness
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Muscle cramping

Treatment: rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE)


A fracture is a complete or incomplete break to any bone.  Caused by severe force or blow to a bone.  The most common bones to fracture are the ankle, clavicle (collar bone), forearm, wrist, and hip.  There are over 250,000 ankle fractures in the United States every year.


  • Immediate/Severe pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Deformity
  • Inability to bear weight on it


Ankle fractures need to be seen by an orthopedic specialist.  Treatment typically involves immobilization in a cast or boot for 4-8 weeks. Sometimes surgery may be needed.

  • Surgery: Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) - aligns the bones. May be stabilized with metal plates, screws, wires or rods. This hardware can be temporary or permanent For further information on Foot & Ankle Injury Prevention, click the link!

 Can't walk on your injured ankleGet it examined by a specialist today!

OrthoNeuro+NOW Orthopedic Urgent Care treat ankle sprains, strains, and fractures.  No Appointment Needed!  Evening and Weekend Hours!

Learn more about our  Orthopedic Urgent Care


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