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Understanding The Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment For High Ankle Sprain

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As the final whistle blew, John, a dedicated soccer player, rushed to attempt an acrobatic kick, but his foot landed on an opponent's boot instead. As a sharp sensation shot up his thigh, he writhed in agony. John suffered a high ankle sprain, a commonly misdiagnosed sports injury. 


Consider being unable to engage in your favourite pleasures while experiencing discomfort and uncertainty. We are here to raise awareness about this often ignored injury, so let is dive into the world of high ankle sprains and investigate its causes, symptoms, and effective treatment choices.

A Quick Overview: Sprain Of The High Ankle

A high ankle sprain (syndesmotic sprain) is an injury to the ligaments that link the tibia and fibula bones in the lower leg. A high ankle sprain involves the ligaments directly above the ankle joint as opposed to a standard ankle sprain, which affects the ligaments outside the ankle.


A high ankle sprain can be caused by twisting or rotating the foot excessively, landing awkwardly after a jump, or directly damaging the area. Athletes who participate in sports requiring quick direction changes or have a high risk of ankle injuries, such as football or soccer, are more vulnerable to high ankle sprains.


A physical examination by a healthcare practitioner is often used to diagnose a high ankle sprain. They may also need imaging tests such as X-rays or an MRI, to determine the severity of the injury and rule out any bone fractures or other accompanying ailments.


The recovery time for a high ankle sprain discomfort can vary depending on the degree of the injury. Mild sprains can heal in a few weeks. However, more severe sprains can take months. Following the suggested treatment plan and gradually resuming activities is critical to avoid re-injury.

Understanding A High Ankle Sprain

A high ankle sprain, or syndesmotic sprain is a form of ankle injury in which the ligaments linking the tibia (shinbone) and fibula (smaller bone in the lower leg) above the ankle joint are damaged. It is more severe and uncommon than a conventional ankle sprain, which affects the ligaments outside the ankle.


Ankle sprains that are severe ligament tears are frequently caused by twisting or rotating stress applied to the ankle joint. This can occur due to sports (speedy changes in direction or impact), falls, or accidents. 


The syndesmotic ligaments, which support the tibia and fibula and keep the ankle joint aligned are compromised in a high ankle sprain.

Symptoms Of A High Ankle Sprain

The strength of the symptoms of a high ankle sprain injury varies depending on the severity of the sprain. The following are the most prevalent signs of a high ankle sprain:

1. Pain

A high ankle sprain is the primary symptom of pain. The pain is usually felt above the ankle joint and can be severe or throbbing. Depending on the extent of the injury, the pain level might range from minor to severe.

2. Inflammation

One typical symptom is ankle swelling. The wounded area may swell due to inflammation produced by syndesmotic ligament injury.

3. Bruises

Bleeding from injured blood vessels can cause bruising or discoloration of the skin around the ankle. Depending on the severity of the sprain, the bruising might range from minor to severe.

4. Sensitivity

When pressure is applied to the ankle the wounded area may be sensitive to touch, and there may be localised discomfort.

Treatment And Recovery Of A High Ankle Sprain

The rehabilitation and treatment process for a high ankle sprain is primarily determined by the degree of the injury. Here's a quick rundown:

1. Initial Treatment

Following the RICE approach (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) immediately after an accident is critical to reducing pain, swelling, and future damage. Rest the damaged ankle, use ice packs wrapped in a towel for 15-20 minutes every few hours, limit swelling with compression bandages, and elevate the leg to decrease fluid collection, all while receiving primary care.

2. Medical Examine

It is critical to seek the advice of a medical professional who can diagnose the severity of the sprain and recommend the best treatment method. They may conduct a physical examination, review the patient's medical history, and request imaging tests (such as X-rays or MRI) to determine the extent of ligament damage.

3. Imprisonment

The ankle may need to be immobilised in moderate to severe high ankle sprains to allow the ligaments to recover. This can be accomplished using a brace, walking boot, or cast. The length of immobilisation depends on the severity of the sprain. However, it might range from a few weeks to many months.

About Bansal Hospital

Bansal Hospital is a multispeciality hospital and is one of the leading, reputable and reliable healthcare providers trusted by patients and their families across the region. It has all the major departments, including cardiology, neurology, oncology, orthopaedics, gastroenterology, urology, liver transplant, bone marrow transplantation, nephrology, gynaecology and more. The hospital is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and technology. It has a team of highly qualified and experienced doctors and medical staff who provide round-the-clock care to the patient.


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