First Degree Sprain
This injury is usually due to increased stretching and/ or minimal tearing of the ligament. This can cause mild pain, difficulty walking, tenderness, and swelling. There is usually no bruising or loss of function. Recovery time is generally four to six weeks.
Second Degree Sprain
A tearing sensation, or a pop or snap is felt. There is swelling and tenderness in the ankle. Bruising begins three to four days after the injury. Walking may be moderately difficult. Recovery time is four to eight weeks.
Conservative treatment options for first and second degree ankle sprains is attempted first which consist of Keeping your foot elevated immediately following and in the days and weeks that follow, reduces inflammation. Elevating your ankle higher than the level of your heart while seated and occasionally repositioning your ankle to prevent stiffening are also recommending treatments. Applying ice to the effected area in 15 minute intervals throughout the day for the first 2 days after injury will help reduce inflammation. Be sure to take ice breaks for at least 15 minutes to reduce chances of skin changes. Using compression bandage on a sprained ankle helps ease the pain and reduces swelling as well. The use of a CAM boot may also be warranted.
Third Degree Sprain
At the time of the injury, the joint may slip out of place and then back in. There is massive swelling, severe tenderness and instability in the joint. Walking may not be possible. Surgery is sometimes necessary. Recovery time is six to 12 weeks.
Surgical treatment options are highly considered for these types of injuries. The surgery is carried out as a same day procedure. General anesthesia along with a local injection around the ankle is given so that the ankle is numb and the patient is pain free after surgery. In some cases, an ankle arthroscopy procedure will be completed prior to repair of the ligament to inspect the ankle joint. The repair of the ligament involves one incision (cut) on the outside of the ankle to allow to locate the scar tissue from the torn ligament near the fibula bone. Once this is located the repair is carried out with anchors to the bone.