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How is the severity of an ankle sprain determined?

Sprains are graded as first, second and third degree. First-degree sprains mean that minimal tissue damage has been done. Second-degree sprains mean that there is damage to one or more ligaments. These usually result in swelling and possible discoloration at the site of the sprain. Third-degree means that the ligament has been torn completely. This injury requires a physician visit and rest from all activity.

This answer provided for NATA by the King College Athletic Training Education Program.

The direction of your sprain will best help your doctor determine how severe it is. The story of your injury plays a crucial role.

The severity of an ankle sprain is determined based on physical exam findings. These include location, swelling, and laxity of the ankle joint.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.