Ankle sprains occur when the foot twists, rolls, or turns beyond its normal motions. This causes the ankle ligaments to stretch beyond their normal range into an abnormal position. (This answer provided for NATA by the Weber State University Athletic Training Education Program.)
Sheldon Marne, DPM
Location and Office HoursABC Podiatry Center
Hendersonville, NC 28791
- BC/BS of North Carolina
- CIGNA HealthCare
- Coventry Health Care (Wellpath)
- Great-West Healthcare CIGNA
- Optimum Choice of the Carolinas/MAMSI (United Healthcare)
- PARTNERS National Health Plans
- TRICARE North/HealthNet Federal Services
- United Healthcare
- WellPath Select
- Mission Hospitals, St Joseph's Campus
- Mission St Joseph's, Memorial Campus
- Pardee Hospital
- Transylvania Community Hospital
- What causes an ankle sprain?
How do I know if I need an x-ray of my injured ankle?
X-rays are an excellent tool for making sure that there is not a broken bone (a.k.a., fracture). Is there an obvious difference in appearance between the injured ankle and the uninjured ankle? If so you will want to get an x-ray immediately. If there is no obvious deformity, it can be tough to know if an x-ray is necessary, but there is a set of guidelines (called the Ottawa ankle rules) that can be followed to decide if you need an x-ray.
Ottawa ankle rules:
- The inability to walk four steps both immediately and following the injury and at the time of examination.
- Pain is felt when the back half of the malleolus (the ball looking bones on each side of your ankle), or six centimeters above or below the malleolus, is touched.
- Pain is felt on the outside (little toe side) of your foot, specifically the 5th metatarsal, or on top of the foot close to where your heel is (the navicular bone).
What causes hindfoot arthritis?
The ankle joint is subjected to more weight-bearing force per square centimeter than any other joint in the body. Hindfoot arthritis can result from trauma such as fractures, inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or related conditions such as tibialis posterior tendinosis. While trauma and/or abnormal ankle mechanics are the most common causes of degenerative changes, obesity and excessive or repetitive motion may also contribute
See all Joint Health questions