What is a High Ankle Sprain?

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March 08, 2019
Edward Smith

What is a High Ankle Sprain?

Leg injuries are common in auto accidents and a high ankle sprain can be serious. Most people have sprained or “rolled” their ankle before; however, sprains that occur in motor vehicle accidents can be severe. According to the results of a National Emergency Department Survey completed in 2010 regarding ankle sprains:

  • Researchers collected data on close to a quarter of a million people who presented to an emergency department with an ankle sprain.
  • The average cost of an emergency department visit for a sprained ankle was around $1,000.
  • Ankle sprains were more common in females than in males.
  • Limb pain was among the most common complications of ankle sprains, followed by a concomitant foot sprain and a laceration of the lower limb.
  • About 90 percent of people presenting to an emergency department with an ankle sprain had some sort of imaging performed.
  • High ankle sprains were six times more likely to result in hospitalization than lower ankle sprains.

This research project led to some interesting results. Most importantly, those who suffered a high ankle sprain were much more likely to spend at least one night in the hospital.

Definition of a High Ankle Sprain

There are different types of ankle sprains and these can range in their severity from mild to severe. A high ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments that are higher on the ankle. The job of these ligaments is to connect the tibia to the fibula. An injury of these ligaments takes place just above the ankle joint. Even though high ankle sprains are less common than lower (more traditional) ankle sprains, there are also far more severe.

A high ankle sprain typically develops when the foot is planted as the leg twists in the outward direction. This can happen in a motor vehicle accident if the foot is trapped near the pedals and the rest of the body rolls during the collision. Some of the symptoms that people might notice include:

  • Pain just above the ankle that increases significantly as the foot rotates outward
  • Major bruising on the upper ankle just above the bone on the lower, outside part of the leg
  • The inability to perform a calf raise

Importantly, a significant number of high ankle sprains are often associated with a fracture of the tibia, fibula, or both bones. It is important for those suffering a high ankle sprain to receive treatment as quickly as possible.

Watch YouTube Video: Mayo Clinic Minute: Ankle Sprains 101. This video provides an overview of ankle sprains and what you can do to minimize the injury.

Treatment of a High Ankle Sprain

The first step in the treatment of a high ankle sprain is to make the appropriate diagnosis. Physical examination will likely demonstrate a number of the symptoms discussed above along with changes in the range of motion of the foot or ankle. Those who are unable to bear weight on their leg will likely receive imaging such as:

  • An x-ray
  • A CT scan
  • An MRI

X-ray and CT scans are great at identifying bone fractures while an MRI is better at taking a look at the ligaments of the ankle. If the ligaments of the ankle are torn, the tibia and fibula are not adequately held together. This causes significant pain in the leg. These ligaments need time to heal. Therefore, major tears often require surgical repair. After surgery, the leg is immobilized with a walking boot and crutches to allow the ligaments time to heal. During this time, most people require extensive physical therapy to strengthen the muscles of the lower leg and the ligaments. This provides the support needed to prevent reinjury.

Contacting an Injury Attorney

If a loved one is hospitalized with a traumatic injury, such as a high ankle sprain, following an auto accident, this can create a lot of uncertainty. Individuals and their families members will likely have questions related to the injury. Some of the questions an injury lawyer can provide assistance with include:

  • Have all of the details related to the accident been appropriately considered?
  • Has the insurance company appropriately paid out the benefits allowed under my insurance policy?
  • Can I pursue damages related to my injury, its complications, and my pain and suffering?

First and foremost, nobody should ever have to face this difficult situation alone. Rely on a personal injury lawyer in Stockton for assistance. You and your family could be owed a significant financial settlement.

Stockton Personal Injury Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Lawyer in Stockton. A high ankle sprain is a serious injury that can take weeks or months to heal. Individuals who have been in an auto accident and suffered a high ankle sprain should contact me today at (800) 404-5400 or  209-227-1931. for free, friendly legal advice.

I am proud to be a lawyer in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Top One Percent, a National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

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Image Attribution: With permission, the picture presented at the beginning of this post was located first on Deposit Photos and printed at this site. 

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