High Ankle Sprain: A Dreaded Strain of Sprain

Ankle sprain is considered as one of the most common among foot injuries.  But did you know that there is also a thing called a high ankle sprain?  This is different from the common (low ankle) type of sprain and has a considerably longer healing period.  This is attributed to the fact that a different set of ligaments are damaged in high ankle sprain.

Cause of the Break

High ankle sprain that results in a fracture is known as Maisonneuve Fracture where the fibula breaks at a high level.  When this happens, bearing weight can be very painful at the point just above the ankle area.  High ankle sprains that do not involve a fracture can make bearing weight difficult, but less painful.

The ligaments connecting the tibia and fibula are damaged with this type of injury.  There are other structures of the foot that can sustain damage with high ankle sprain like the interosseous membrane.  The recovery time can vary substantially depending on the number of structures damaged.

On the average though, the recovery can be anywhere from 8 weeks to 6 months.  This is why so many athletes fear having a high ankle sprain.

Sprain Symptoms

Are non-athletes vulnerable to high ankle sprain?  To a certain degree yes, but this is usually observed with athletes engaged in high intensity sports.  Just like with any other type of sprain, high ankle sprain can cause considerable pain.  Usually athletes would observe the pain coming from the ankle and working its way up the leg with the pain becoming worse as they move and possibly twist the original injury.

What makes this type of sprain dreaded by coaches and athletes is that it does not create substantial amounts of bruising and swelling.  Visual inspection would give the indication that there is nothing wrong, which lulls a person to a false sense of security.  There is no bracing available that can prevent or treat high ankle sprains.

The pain associated with high ankle sprain is commonly felt when the ankle is turned outwards and felt mostly above the ankle.  More severe high ankle sprain injuries among athletes can result in significantly long recovery time.  Medical professionals would normally use the squeeze test, MRI, or x-ray to do a diagnosis.

It is important to take the necessary precautions to establish the severity of the injury and ensure that the person takes enough rest and rehabilitation to completely heal the sprain.

Basic Safety Tips

Regardless whether you are an athlete or not, it is important to protect yourself against these types of injuries.  Considering the substantial recovery time needed for high ankle sprain, prevention is definitely going to be a lot better than cure.

  • Appropriate Footwear – when walking on a rough terrain, use hiking shoes. In a work environment, steel-toed boots work best.  When running, get the right type of running shoes.  Shoes play a huge role in protecting your feet against many types of injuries and choosing the right one is the correct place to start.
  • Avoid Worn Out Shoes – it does not matter if it is running shoes, hiking shoes, walking shoes, or whatever, once the heel and tread wears out, get a new pair. This condition is an indication that your shoes can no longer support your feet.
  • Strengthen Bones – by now you already know how critical your bones are, especially when you see the high ankle sprain symptoms. Take in food rich in calcium like cheese, milk, and yogurt among others.  Make sure that you have enough vitamin D supplementation as well.
  • Train Properly – if you are an athlete or engaging in high intensity exercise, make sure that you start slowly, warm up, and proper stretching. Strengthening your ankle muscles will help in protecting it from twisting.  Alternate your physical activities to prevent possible stress fractures.

If athletes dread high ankle sprain then so must you!  Sometimes prioritizing footwear brand over its functionality is what gets our feet into trouble.  Talk to the highly trained experts at Foot Solutions to find out how you can protect your feet from injuries.