When a High Ankle Sprain Sidelines Your Life!
Carolina Panthers wide receiver, Jerricho Cotchery, will likely be out for another few weeks due to a high ankle sprain he sustained in week two of the NFL season. A high ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments that connects the two leg bones to the ankle, the tibia and the fibula. It is referred to a “high” ankle sprain as it is above the level of the ankle joint. This type of ankle sprain accounts for only 15% of ankle sprains, but can easily be misdiagnosed because it’s not in a typical ankle sprain location.
High ankle sprains typically occur from an external or outside rotation of the foot in relation to the leg. These typically occur in high impact activities and can also be associated with a fracture. Patients will have pain above the level of the ankle joint. Oftentimes, you may be able to walk with this injury if there is no associated fracture with it. There may also be tenderness to the ligaments on the inside or outside of the ankle.
Usually, an x-ray will be taken by your podiatrist to rule out any broken bones, which may be associated with the injury. Your doctor may get an MRI or CT scan to further assess the injured area. There are other tests that your doctor may perform such as a “squeeze test” or an “external rotation test”. In the squeeze test, your doctor may squeeze the leg below the knee to see if there is any reproduction of symptoms to the area. If there are, this would be indicative of a high ankle sprain. With the “external rotation test” the ankle is placed at a 90-degree angle with respect to the leg and the foot is turned toward to the outside. If there is pain in the area, this could again be indicative of a high ankle sprain.
If your podiatrist determines you do have a high ankle sprain, treatment may vary. If there is no associated fracture, the RICE treatment (rest, ice, compression, elevation) will be important. If the area is too painful, you may be placed in some sort of immobilization to help rest the area until weight bearing is possible. Physical therapy will also be started to help strengthen the ligaments and tendons. Recovery can take up to 6-8 weeks. In some cases, surgery may be necessary, but only in severe cases.
It is important to talk with your podiatrist to discuss the proper treatment for you. If you are worried you’ve sustained a high ankle sprain, or any other foot or ankle injury, click here to request an appointment with one of our specialists.
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