Signs of a Serious Ankle Sprain
An ankle sprain injury is caused by an unusual twist or turn of the ankle that stretches or tears the ligaments, causing swelling and pain. If the sprain is severe enough and left untreated, it may require a splint or brace.
But how do you know if your ankle sprain is severe? Here are the top three signs of a serious ankle sprain, so you know when to contact us at Progressive Spine & Orthopaedics.
How Ankle Sprains are Categorized
Before discussing the signs of a serious ankle sprain, it’s essential to understand how ankle sprains are categorized. Ankle sprains are classified according to how severe the ligaments are damaged:
- Grade 1: At Grade 1, the ligament has been overstretched but not torn. Your ankle will probably feel sore and may be slightly swollen.
- Grade 2: The ligament is partially torn, causing prolonged pain and swelling. A Grade 2 sprain might prevent you from putting your total weight on the ankle.
- Grade 3: At Grade 3, the ankle ligament is fully torn, and you may have heard a popping sound when it happened. This level of sprain causes severe pain, swelling, and bruising. Your ankle will feel unstable and cannot support any of your weight.
When you’ve sprained your ankle and experienced the following increased symptoms, it could be a sign that your sprain is serious and requires medical attention.
1. Decreased range of motion
Most ankle sprains happen when your foot turns too inward, which is unnatural. This causes the ligaments outside your ankle to become overstretched or tear.
In severe ankle sprains, the ligaments may become so severely damaged that you’re unable to complete the following motions:
- Turn your foot
- Weight-bearing activities such as walking
2. Abnormal Swelling or Bruising
When you damage the strong ligaments supporting your ankle joint, you may experience swelling and bruising almost immediately. Like pain and tenderness from a sprain, you can expect swelling or discoloration in the area with ligament damage, but you should contact us when experiencing an abnormal amount. It’s safe to assume that more swelling and bruising indicates a more severely sprained ankle.
3. Instability or Feeling Wobbly
In ankle sprains with severe ligament damage, you’ll likely experience instability or a shaky feeling in the ankle. Ligaments in your ankles help provide joint stability to prevent excessive movement. So when the ligaments are stretched or torn, they can no longer offer proper joint stabilization.
Call Us at the First Sign of a Serious Ankle Sprain
Ankle sprains are common concerns, but whether your pain is chronic or acute, Dr. Bernstein can do something to resolve it. At Progressive Spine and Orthopaedics, board-certified Foot & Ankle Specialist Dr. Steven Bernstein provides foot and ankle care and healing, from non-invasive treatments to complex surgical procedures. Call us at the first sign of a serious ankle sprain so we can help you heal and resume your active lifestyle.