Medial Ankle Sprain
A medial ankle sprain is also called a pronation-eversion sprain and occurs when you roll your ankle and stretch the inside ligaments of the ankle. This is uncommon compared to a lateral ankle sprain where you stretch the outside ligaments. It’s uncommon because there isn’t much movement on the inside of your ankle versus the outside. There is also far less movement of the medial ankle compared to the lateral ankle.
Significance of medial ankle sprain
The ankle is the second-most likely joint to be injured in sport. In the United States of America, the total cost of ankle sprains is approximately USD$2 billion. Severe ankle sprains occur commonly in basketball players. A study of elite Australian basketball players found that the rate of ankle injury was 3.85 per 1000 participations. Recurrence rates amongst basketball players is reported to be greater than 70%.
Anatomy and function of the medial ankle
The medial ankle is stabilised by the large and expansive deltoid ligament, which always has specific ligaments called the tibionavicular, tibiocalcaneal, and deep posterior tibiotalar ligaments. Ankle stability is provided by the medial and lateral collateral ligaments and the syndesmosis (strong connective tissue located between the two shin bones called the fibula and tibia). The medial ligament complex consists of wide flared, strong connections, which combine to form the deltoid ligament, the anterior tibiofibular ligament and the bony mortise (where the distal tibia joins the talus bone to form an ankle joint). The hardly stretchable medial structures also provide passive stability of the foot.
Causes of a medial ankle sprain
Medial ankle sprains are more common in sporting populations as large forces are typically needed for this type of injury to occur. People participating in sports in which there is a rapid change in direction of movement, such as basketball, soccer, football, hockey and tennis, are at a higher risk of medial ankle sprain. People with flatfeet (excessive pronation), pre-existing injury or a history of medial ankle sprain are also more at risk.
Symptoms of medial ankle sprain
Ankle pain and swelling on the inside of the ankle are the most common symptoms of a medial ankle sprain. Bruising is common and difficulty to walk or bear weight through the ankle will be likely if there is considerable damage to the inside ligaments. Our chiropractors will need to test for ligamentous laxity that could cause instability. This occurs when the damage to the inside ligaments, typically the deltoid ligament, is significant and is no longer offering good stability to the medial ankle.
Treatment of medial ankle sprain
We recommend you visit a chiropractor or physiotherapist if you experience a medial ankle sprain. Treatment options included:
- Applying P.R.I.C.E (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation) to reduce pain and inflammation;
- Apply a cold pack to the area immediately every hour for 10 minutes then reduce this to 3–4 time a day as required;
- Taping the area with a simple taping technique;
- Gentle massage techniques;
- Electrotherapy (ultrasound) or sports massage to help blood flow into the area;
- Exercises to reduce pain and help tissue healing;
- Strengthening exercises to restore the function of the ankle; and,
- Sports specific exercises to return the ankle to ‘match fitness’.
At Sydney Spine & Sports Centre
The clinicians at Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) Balmain have two key treatment goals when treating a medial ankle sprain. The first is to reduce pain, and the second is to restore and enhance function. Our clinicians use the highest standards in safe, reliable and effective treatments to achieve these goals.
For more information about foot and ankle injuries and conditions, please follow the links below to our website and blog page:
- Ankle and Foot Pain Overview
- Lateral Ankle Sprain
- Bruised Heel
- Broken Heel Bone (Calcaneal Fracture)
- Athletes Foot
- Heel Spurs
- Stress Fractures in the Ankle and Foot
- Injury Prevention, Ankle Biomechanics & Footwear in Runners
- Tissue Injury and Factors Affecting Recovery
- How Can Chiropractic Help After a Sports Injury?