Ways to Tell a High Ankle Sprain from a Low Ankle Sprain

The ankle is among the most used and most complex joints in the body. Consequently, perhaps, doctors treat about 25,000 ankle injuries every day in the United States alone. The ankle can get injured at two different points, giving rise to the high ankle and low ankle sprains. And while low ankle sprains are more common, an Alamo Heights high ankle sprain is more worrisome. High ankle sprains often appear less severe than their counterparts but may actually cause more damage to your foot. This is because the ligaments in your high angle support the two longest bones in your lower leg – the fibula and tibia – that allow you to perform daily activities like climbing stairs and walking. So how do you know if you have a high ankle sprain? Here are five ways it is different from a low ankle sprain.

It Occurs Above the Ankle Joint

Low ankle injuries are more prevalent than high ankle sprains. In fact, most times someone injures their ankle, it is highly likely that they have a low ankle sprain. This injury happens when your ankle rolls inwards, stretching the ligaments within your ankle joint. Simply put, it occurs inside the ankle joint. High ankle injuries are different because they involve the foot. They occur when the ankle and foot rotate together, stretching the connective tissues that hold your fibula and tibia together. Essentially, these sprains happen above the ankle joint. The pain the cause can often feel more widespread.

It Involves Damage to the Syndesmotic Ligaments

High ankle sprains are medically referred to as syndesmotic ankle injuries. This is because they damage the syndesmotic ligaments. As mentioned, these ligaments are responsible for holding your fibula and tibia together. Low ankle sprains, on the other hand, damage the ATFL tissue more. This difference often translates to a contrast in which you experience pain and mobility problems. A low ankle sprain may make it difficult to move your foot while a high ankle sprain may affect your entire lower leg.

It Is Associated with High-Impact Sports

Low ankle sprains are more common because they can occur during regular day-to-day motions. They happen when your ankle joint is forced into an unnatural position, which can happen when you lose your footing, trip on a carpet, or step on the brake pedal at a weird angle. On the other hand, high ankle sprains often occur due to an unnatural rotation of both the foot and ankle. This is most commonly a result of the sudden cutting motions, turning, or twisting characteristics of high-impact sports like soccer.

It Causes Less Severe Symptoms

As mentioned, high ankle sprains may cause less severe symptoms. For instance, they are rarely associated with severe bruising and swelling caused by low ankle sprains. This can cause them to be dismissed as “not that bad” even when the damage is more extensive. In fact, many patients do not understand the severity of their injury until later on when healing takes longer than expected. The fact that high ankle joints occur above the joint also means that they often require a longer recovery period.

Don’t Worry, High Ankle Sprains Are Treatable

All that said, it is not all doom and gloom for high ankle sprain patients. You are more likely to get this type of injury if you play contact sports like rugby, hockey, and football. If you do, a simple trip to the doctor can help determine the type of sprain you have. Early intervention will increase your chances of early recovery and lower your risk of worsening symptoms. So even if you still do not know whether you have a high or low ankle injury, visit your doctor today for help. They will know.

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