Ligaments are the structures which connect bones and provide stability to joints. A ligament sprain occurs when a ligament becomes overstretched, torn or completely ruptured.
The most common type of ligament sprain in the ankle involves injury to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle and is usually caused by rolling the ankle outwards.
The two most commonly injured ligaments are the Anterior Talofibular Ligament and the Calcaneofibular Ligament.
Signs & Symptoms
- Sudden pain with outward roll of ankle. May also feel a popping or cracking sensation
- Localised pain in lateral ankle
- Swelling and bruising in lateral ankle
- Pain with bearing weight, walking or running
- Feeling unstable with bearing weight, walking or running
Diagnosis & Assessment techniques
Diagnosis is primarily based on patient history and physical assessment, but imaging techniques such as diagnostic ultrasound or MRI can also be used to diagnose a ligament sprain.
Recovery depends heavily on the severity of the sprain.
- Grade 1 sprains (fibres overstretched):
- Grade 2 sprains (significant number of fibres torn):
2 weeks – 6 months
- Grade 3 sprains (complete rupture):
3 months +