High ankle sprain

A high ankle sprain involves injury to the anterior tibiofibular ligament that links the tibia and fibula right above the ankle.

Indications

The indications include the following:

  • Pain when pushing on the tibiofibular ligament that links the tibia and fibula at the base of the leg/top part of the ankle.
  • Difficulty walking
  • Pain is reproduced when the ankle is rotated and dorsiflexed with toes and foot is pushed upwards
    High ankle sprain

    Pain when pushing on the tibiofibular ligament that links the tibia and fibula at the base of the leg/top part of the ankle.

The commonly damaged ligament in sprained high ankle is the anterior tibiofibular ligament. Significant injuries can also damage the syndesmosis which is the membrane that links the tibia and fibula.

A high ankle sprain is oftentimes linked with a fracture to one of the lower leg bones and often significant than a normal lateral ankle sprain which is difficult to treat.

Management

Home treatment

Right after exercises, the PRICE method (protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation) must be applied to minimize the pain and swelling. The ice pack must be applied with a barrier such as a towel or cloth. The application should last for 10 minutes every hour at first with the frequency lowered to 2 or 3 times in a day as needed. Elevating the affected foot can help reduce the swelling and the tissue fluids drains from the site of injury.

Medical care

The doctor might prescribe anti-inflammatory and pain medications such as ibuprofen to minimize the pain and swelling.

Sports massage is also recommended after a period of 72 hours to reduce the swelling, loosen up the muscles and prevent the buildup of scar tissue. In addition, electrotherapy such as ultrasound can also reduce the swelling and promote healing.

When the ankle is free from pain, mobility and strengthening exercises must be started to restore functionality of the ankle. Proprioception exercises must be added as well to restore coordination of the joint.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on a high ankle sprain is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage sprains by taking a standard first aid course with Kelowna First Aid.

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