A sprained ankle, also known as an ankle sprain, twisted ankle, rolled ankle, floppy ankle, ankle injury or ankle ligament injury, is a common medical condition where one or more of the ligaments of the ankle is torn or partially torn.
Knowing the symptoms that can be experienced with a sprain is important in determining that the injury is not really a break in the bone. When a sprain occurs, blood vessels will leak fluid into the tissue that surrounds the joint. White blood cells responsible for inflammation migrate to the area, and blood flow increases as well. Along with this inflammation, swelling from the fluid and pain is experienced. The nerves in the area become more sensitive when the injury is suffered, so pain is felt as throbbing and will worsen if there is pressure placed on the area. Warmth and redness are also seen as blood flow is increased. Also present is a decreased ability to move the joint, and difficulty using the affected leg.
A high ankle sprain, also known as a syndesmotic ankle sprain, is a sprain of the syndesmotic ligaments that connect the tibia and fibula on the lower leg. Syndesmotic ankle sprains are known as high because their location on the lower leg is above the ankle. Unlike common ankle sprains when ligaments around the ankle are torn or receive injury through an inward twisting, high ankle sprains are caused when the lower leg and foot twist out.
Athletes with high ankle sprains usually come to a physician, physical therapist, athletic trainer or other specialist complaining of a dull or sharp pain in the outside-front of the lower leg above the ankle. The pain is usually sharper when twisting is applied. In other cases the high ankle sprain is diagnosed only after treatment for the common ankle sprain fails. High ankle sprains may be harder to diagnose than normal ankle sprains because swelling is usually minor or nonexistent. For this reason some may underestimate the severity of the injury. The physical therapist, athletic trainer, or physician will test for high ankle sprain in a number of ways. The most common approach is the squeeze test (squeezing the calf or lower leg, usually with slight turning). CT scans or radiographs are sometimes used for diagnosis or to check for displacement of the tibia and fibula.