High Ankle Sprain – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Posted on March 7th, 2017 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

ankle specialists fairfield county ct

As the most common type of sports injury, nearly every athlete has suffered from an ankle sprain. Part of the reason they are so common is because the term “sprained ankle” actually encompasses three different types of injuries:

  • Inversion: when the ankle rolls outwards, damaging the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. This is the most common type of ankle sprain.
  • Eversion: when the ankle rolls inwards, damaging the ligaments on the inside of the ankle. This is less common than inversion injuries.
  • High ankle sprain: an injury caused by rotation of the ankle, damaging the tibiofibular ligament (which connects your tibia and fibula). This is the least common type of ankle sprain.

In this article, we will be focusing on high ankle sprains. Read below to learn about the common causes, symptoms, and treatment options for high ankle sprains:



High ankle sprains can occur in one of two ways:

  • the foot rotating outwards, or
  • the leg rotating inwards while the foot is planted.


A high ankle sprain can happen on its own, with an inversion or eversion injury, or during a bone fracture. Like all sprains, high ankle sprains are classified according to ligament damage:

  • Grade I: stretching or slight tearing
  • Grade II: partial tear
  • Grade III: complete tear



High ankle sprains are different than traditional ankle sprains, and so are the symptoms. Symptoms of high ankle sprains include:

  • Pain above the ankle
  • Bruising of the upper ankle
  • Swelling above the ankle
  • Difficulty walking or bearing weight
  • Pain worsens with external rotation of the foot



Both the type and duration of treatment is dependent on the severity of the sprain. Mild sprains may heal on their own in a few days, while severe sprains may require several months. If you suspect you suffered a high ankle sprain, use the RICE method:






If pain and swelling don’t subside within 48 hours, see a doctor. They may recommend:

  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Crutches or a wheelchair
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery


If you live in Fairfield County CT and suffer a sports injury, look no further than Orthopaedic Specialty Group to get you on the road to recovery. As southern Connecticut’s largest and most experienced practice, you can count on our team of ankle specialists to diagnose and treat your pain as safely and effectively as possible. Request an appointment online, or call (203) 337-2600.