An ankle sprain is the most common injury to the ankle and the long term consequences of an ankle sprain is a common cause of chronic ankle pain. The most common type is the inversion ankle sprain, in which the ankle rolls over on the outside.

Unfortunately quite common and often painful just to watch happen, ankle sprains occur with the over-extension or tearing of the ligaments. More often than not, the damage occurs to the talo-fibular ligament in the ankle. A more serious ankle sprain gets diagnosed when the calcaneo-fibular ligament is the source of the injury.

The nature of their sudden onset and immediate pain can sometimes make ankle sprains a rather traumatic experience.

The sprained ankle is often classified as to how severe it is.

First degree ankle sprain

First degree ankle sprains can be characterized with the presence of some or all of the following signs and symptoms:

  • A mild tear in the talo-fibular ligament
  • A minor amount of pain but full functionality
  • The ability of the sprained ankle to bear some weight with limping
  • The presence of noticeable, but not serious, swelling
  • Some stiffness in the joint not long after onset

Second degree ankle sprain

The following signs and symptoms may be present with a second degree ankle sprain:

  • A more prominent ligament tear
  • Sharp, sudden pain that remains at least moderate until treatment
  • Attempt to bear weight results in measurable pain
  • Evident swelling
  • Some bruising below the sprained ankle and along the outside of the foot
  • Noticeable stiffness in the joint that prevents full range of motion

Third degree ankle sprain

The most serious ankle sprain, a third degree ankle sprain, is diagnosed with evidence of the following:

  • A categorical tear of the ligament
  • Close to complete loss of joint function
  • Very sudden pain that disseminates to almost no feeling
  • Severe, colorful bruising along the ankle, foot and sometimes well above the ankle
  • Bulbous swelling