Eversion Ankle Sprain

An eversion ankle sprain is rare and occurs when the ankle rolls too far inwards. This type of sprain happens when the ligaments on the inside of the ankle tear, which is often accompanied by a fracture of the fibula bone. It is hard for these inside ligaments to be sprained, it is much more common to damage the outer ligaments. Read more on the causes, symptoms and treatment of this ankle injury.

Eversion ankle sprain symptoms

The athlete will usually know they have sprained their ankle. There will be immediate pain on the inside of the ankle after twisting it. There will be rapid swelling and bruising may develop. They will have difficulty weight bearing and limited motion. In moderate to severe eversion ankle sprains it is always recommended that an x-ray is requested to rule out fractures.

What is an ankle eversion sprain?

An eversion sprain is a tear of the deltoid ligaments, on the inside of the ankle. It is often called a medial ankle sprain or a deltoid ligament sprain. These ligaments provide support to prevent the ankle turning inwards or everting.

It is rare for the deltoid ligaments to be sprained for two reasons. The fibula bone tends to prevent the ankle from moving far enough to sprain or over stretch the ligaments on the inside of the ankle. It simply does not allow the foot to move far enough to cause damage. Another reason is that the medial ligaments on the inside of the ankle are stronger than the lateral ligaments on the outside.

For this reason an eversion sprain is often associated with a fracture of the end of the fibula bone called the lateral malleolus which can be felt as the bony part on the outside of the ankle. Other bones in the ankle such as the talus can also be fractured during an eversion ankle sprain.

Treatment of medial ankle sprains

Initial treatment should involve applying the PRICE principles of rest, ice, compression and elevation. Rest is important both immediately after injury as well as whilst the injury is healing. Continuing to walk or play on while it is painful will increase swelling and slow the healing process.

Apply ice or cold therapy immediately after injury. Ice should not be applied directly to the skin but in a wet tea towel or use a commercially available hot and cold pack which are often more convenient. Cold therapy can be applied for 10 to 15 minutes every hour for the first 24 to 48 hours and reduce frequency as symptoms improve.

Compression with an ankle taping or compression bandage will protect the joint from further injury and help reduce swelling. Elevating the limb encourages the swelling and tissue fluids to flow away from the site of injury.

This treatment should continue until all bleeding has ceased (usually 48-72 hours). Further treatment should involve regaining full mobility and strengthening the ankle to prevent future injuries. Mobility exercises can begin as soon as pain allows in a forwards and backwards motion so as not to stress the healing ligaments. As the injury improves and pain allows ankle strengthening exercises and exercises to improve proprioception such as wobble balance board exercises should be done.

Medial ligament sprains are treated the same way as lateral ankle ligament sprains although recovery can take twice as long.

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