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What Are the Three Types of Sprains?

This time of year, as students return to school and fall sports resume, we see a lot of sprains. A sprained ankle can be a minor inconvenience, or it can be extremely debilitating. There are three types of sprains that can occur, and in those different types of sprains, there can be different grades of sprain.

Types of Sprains

  • An inversion sprain is a type of sprain that is caused from turning or twisting your ankle in. You’ll feel the majority of the pain on the outside of the ankle.
  • An eversion sprain is the opposite – you turn or twist your ankle out, and most of the pain is felt on the interior side of the ankle. This type of sprain is far less common.
  • A high ankle sprain is usually the result of landing wrong on a jump that pushes the ankle up. 

Grades of Sprains

Sprains are graded based on the severity of the sprain by degrees.

A first-degree sprain is the mildest form of sprain, resulting in minimal tissue damage and quick recovery time. A first-degree sprain can normally be treated at home by elevating the foot, icing it, and staying off it. Full recovery takes less than a week in most cases.

A second-degree sprain happens when one or more ligaments has been damaged. There is usually more swelling and bruising with a second-degree sprain and it may require additional treatment to heal. You may need to consult with your physician for treatment and therapy, and it can take 2-6 weeks to completely heal. 

A third-degree sprain occurs when the ligament has torn. It is normally accompanied by a popping sound and can be very painful. There will be swelling, bruising, and an inability to bear weight on the foot. A visit to your doctor will be required, and you may need a cast or brace. It can take 6-12 weeks to fully recover.

Treating Your Sprain

All sprains benefit from RICE treatment – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. A serious sprain should be seen by a physician to ensure a full recovery and return to activity.

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