Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments connecting the bones in the foot and ankle are stretched or torn typically during a slip or fall. There are three types of sprains that can occur – inversion, eversion and high ankle sprains.
Inversion Sprain – This type of sprain is the least severe and occurs the most frequently. Ligaments on the outside of the ankle are injured.
Eversion Sprain – This type of sprain is the most severe, but fortunately occurs less often than the others. Ligaments on the inside of the ankle are injured and in certain situations, may be pulled away from the bony attachment.
High Ankle Sprain – This type of sprain involves an injury to the large ligament connecting the two bones of the lower leg (tibia and fibula).
The most common symptoms associated with ankle sprains vary based on whether the ligaments are stretched or torn either partially or completely. There can be a range in severity from the ability to weight bear with some pain in the case of a stretched ligament to a complete inability to weight bear accompanied by a decrease in sensation with a complete tear.
The most common causes of ankle sprains include:
Braces can be used for both prevention of a sprain if involved in a competitive sport or as a treatment if an injury has already occurred. Ankle braces provide reinforcement about the ankle as well as better coordination of the muscles surrounding the joint.
Orthotics (Orthoses) – Must be prescribed by a physician
Research conducted on athletes has shown that individuals with fl at feet fatigue more quickly and therefore are more likely to suffer from inversion sprains. Orthotics can be created to raise the arch area in fl at footed individuals and prevent the occurrence of ankle sprains.
Motion control footwear with features including wide soles and firm arches provide the body with greater stability and lead to less muscle fatigue. In turn, this supportive foundation enables the ankle to remain secure and less likely to be injured.