Ankle Sprains may be one of the most common injuries, but they're also commonly misdiagnosed. That's because the two major types of sprained ankles which are high ankle sprains and lateral ankle sprains often look the same, even though they affect entirely different ligaments. The less common type—a high ankle sprain—is often mistaken for a lateral sprain. Misdiagnosis can delay getting the right treatment—and that can impair recovery. Pain, swelling, limited motion, and bruising in the entire ankle region can occur in both high ankle sprains and lateral ankle sprains. The difference lies in where the injury occurs and which ligaments are involved. The more ligaments that have been involved and the worse they are torn, the more severe the injury. To select proper treatment, Dr. Jurcisin must first “grade” the sprain’s severity based on the extent of ligament injury. Grading also enables Dr. Jurcisin to predict how long it will be before the patient can return to normal activity. Ankle sprains are common in sports, where getting back in the game is a top concern. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, if their injuries are exactly the same; they’re going to heal in the same amount of time.” So when a high school athlete hears it will take 6 to 8 weeks before he can return to the game and he wants to know why New England Patriots tight end Rob Grankowski played in the Superbowl only 14 days after his high ankle sprain, the answer is clear: Not all ankle sprains are created equal. In diagnosing an ankle sprain, it’s important for Dr. Jurcisin to understand how the injury occurred. Lateral sprains are caused by the foot turning inward, whereas high ankle sprains are the result of the foot being forced outward. Treatment for less serious ankle sprains involves immobilization of the foot and non-weight bearing for 2 to 4 weeks. More severe high ankle sprains require surgery and a longer time to recover. Considering that ankle sprains vary so widely in severity, what’s a good rule of thumb for when to seek medical care? Call us today to see a Dr. Jurcisin any time there’s bruising or the inability to bear weight on that foot If these symptoms aren’t present, home treatment involving rest, ice, compression, and elevation should suffice. The key message regarding an ankle sprain is to have it correctly diagnosed and treated to achieve the best possible recovery. Call us today to book an appointment.
Dr. John JurcisinJohn Jurcisin, DPM, ABPS, FACFAS, is a board-certified foot surgeon with over 31 years of experience in podiatric medicine. At Precision Footcare in Midtown East, New York City, he leads a practice dedicated to convenience, comfort, and state-of-the-art treatment.
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