Injuries to the ligaments of the ankle associated with rolling of the foot are known as ankle sprains.
The ankle ligaments provide stability to the ankle by helping to hold the ankle bone within the joint as the foot moves during the gait cycle. They give you the flexibility to adapt to uneven ground surfaces while walking or running.
The ankle ligaments most commonly injured in an ankle sprain are the three outer (or lateral) ligaments. One or more of the ligaments may be partially or even completely torn, depending on the severity of the injury. Fractures are not uncommon and should be ruled out.
Swelling, bruising and pain are indications of an ankle sprain or ligament rupture. X-rays will be required to evaluate the condition. Advanced imaging may be required for more severe cases.
Ankle sprains are often under-diagnosed and under-treated. The absence of a fracture does not mean there is no serious injury. Immobilization and treatment is still required to prevent chronic instability and allow return to activities.
It is critically important to begin treatment as soon as possible after an ankle sprain. Failing to appropriately immobilize the ankle often results in chronic ankle instability. A period of immobilization, anti-inflammatory medication and rest are usually recommended.
Aggressive physical therapy and step down bracing are often utilized as well. Any treatment provided is to allow the ligaments to heal in the correct position and at the correct length.
Surgical treatment of the ankle ligaments is performed when there is chronic instability or complete rupture.