Sprained Ankle Types

sprained ankle types

Before you begin healing, it’s important to know the different kinds of sprained ankle types and grades.  But, don’t worry, there are only 3 main variations of each and you should have a pretty good idea which is which…

Inversion Sprain >> This is the one almost everyone gets… it hits over ninety percent of all people who get a sprain.   The medical speak for it is a lateral ligament sprain, because it hits the side of the ankle joint. If you experience an inversion sprain, the inside of your ankle will turn upward and the injury will be on the outside of your ankle joint.   Just take a peek at the image below and you will see exactly what an inversion sprain is and why it is so common.  As you can see, the ligaments that get over-stretched or even torn are the lateral or outside ligaments of the ankle joint.  The ankle immediately swells up on the outside of the ankle and depending on how badly you got hurt, you may be able to walk on it or you may not be able to put any pressure on that foot at all.

High Ankle Sprain >> Okay… the next two types are much, much less common, but they still happen.  Let’s take a quick look.  If you experience a high ankle sprain, I’m sure you can guess which ligaments get hurt:  it’s the ones above the ankle. They’re called the syndesmosis ligaments and obviously the swelling and pain will be in that area.  Just a quick note, because many people ask… yes, the H.E.M. Ankle Rehab System works great for a high ankle sprain too.

Medial Ligament Sprain >>  If you experience this kind of sprained ankle, go see a doctor and get an x-ray.  By the way, we always recommend you get an x-ray not matter what, to rule out any kind of fracture.  It doesn’t matter what kind of sprained ankle type you have, you never want to start any kind of rehab if you have a fracture, because it can make things worse.   Okay, so how do you get one of these injuries?  Your ankle actually rolls the opposite way as an inverted sprain.  In other words, your ankle actually rolls inward, so the ligaments on the inner part of the ankle get hurt.   I’m sure you can see why a medial ligament sprain is so rare… it’s pretty hard to do it, but it can happen.

The THREE Sprained Ankle Grades
Okay, this is different from the types of sprained ankle types.  The grade refers to how seriously you hurt your ankle.  Now, what determines that?  One, how weak, unstable and inflexible is your ankle?  Obviously, if you have weak and inflexible ankles, the injury is going to be A LOT worse than someone who has done some nice prehab work to make their ankles stable and strong.  That’s why a good rehab program like H.E.M. is so valuable.  Not only does it lower the risk of an injury altogether it helps lower the severity of the injury, if you get a sprain.  But, in a nut shell, the grade of the injury will depend on how much force was placed on your foot when it twists beyond it’s natural range of motion.  That makes sense, right?  You are forcing your ankle joint into an unnatural position, beyond which the ligaments can stretch, so what was the force and speed it experienced?  The more force, the worse the injury will most likely be.  So, here are the three main grade types…

Grade ONE Sprained Ankle
Pray that if you get a sprain, it’s a grade one, because it’s not too bad at all.  You will be able to immediately walk on your sprained ankle.  You may limp a little bit, but the pain and swelling won’t be too bad.  Your ligaments just got stretched a little too far, and even if they tore a little bit, it’s not a big deal.  Again, the pain and swelling will be pretty minimal.  You can expect some bruising, especially after a few days, but again, not too bad.

Grade TWO Sprained Ankle
I’m sorry if you got a grade two sprain, because it’s a lot worse.  Don’t get me wrong, you’ll be fine, but you will definitely be a little surprised at how swollen and bruised your ankle gets.  And the pain will be a lot worse.  Your ankle will feel pretty unstable and walking will be painful.  Most likely, you will feel some shooting pains every time you step on that bad foot.  You will definitely have some torn ligaments in the ankle and it is going to be pretty unstable.  You definitely want to take things slow and watch every step to avoid any further injury or aggravation of the ankle joint.  But, assuming you don’t have a fracture (you need an x-ray to know that), rehab will be extremely helpful for you in the short term and long term.

Grade THREE Sprained Ankle
Okay, if you have a grade three sprain, just take a breath.  There’s no way around it, grade three sprains really suck.  They are the most serious kind of ankle sprain and they really, really hurt.  Most likely, your ligaments completely tore or ruptured and you will find that your ankle joint is incredibly unstable.  Obviously, you are going to have a lot of pain, swelling and bruising.  You definitely need an x-ray to rule out a fracture or any other damage in the area.  With a grade three sprain, I would be surprised if you could put any pressure at all on that foot (you will probably need crutches).

Still, even with a grade 3 sprain, if you don’t have a fracture, you can begin HEM Ankle Rehab right away.  The main thing to remember is to take it very, very slow.  Treat your ankle very gently, especially with any of the exercises and stretches.  You may even want to wait a few days or a week before you start that portion, because the ankle will be so unstable and you don’t want to hurt yourself any further.  But, as I said, HEM will still be invaluable for helping you heal much faster than mere rest, ice, compression and elevation.  Anyway, if you have a grade three sprain, just be patient and take good care of yourself and it will heal up 100%.  But, seriously, take it slow.