Lateral ligaments are the most commonly injured and are damaged in a direction that goes from front to back. The most severe sprain is the damage of the anterior talofibular ligament, which is also the most commonly injured ligament due to its size. Sprains generally occur when the ankle is turned unexpectedly while the foot is planted. Although the ligaments in the ankle can be stretched quite far without any damage, their flexibility is not infinite. Many sprains are a result of running, jumping, sharp direction changes or stepping on uneven ground. Most athletes and otherwise have suffered an ankle sprain in their lifetime.
A sprain of anterior talofibular ligaments is diagnosed by the examining the location of the bruising, swelling, and tenderness. It’s necessary to perform stress testing of the ligaments to determine whether the ligament has been torn. Many initial diagnostic tests can be performed by applying pressure to the spot of the injury. Sprained ankles will be tender to the touch, but only x-rays can tell for sure whether or not there are torn ligaments or the possibility of a chipped or fractured bone. When initially testing for a sprain or fracture, apply force to the shin bone and see of the tibia shifts backwards at the ankle joint. If it does, there’s a good chance that the ligaments are completely torn. The most common cause for the tibia shifting backwards and snapping back into place when pressure is removed is the result of a torn anterior talofibular ligament.
Depending on how severe the sprain is, treatment can range from using a brace, cast, or even having the ankle operated on. The treatment depends on factors including the factors of the injury where the injury is located or the routine stress put on the ankle. Athletes have a greater chance for ligament tears due to the constant stress put on their ankles. Most of the treatments involve rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
No matter what treatment works for you, there is an occasional chance of the anterior talofibular ligament healing and becoming weaker over time. Once an ankle is injured, it is more likely to twist more easily. When this happens, physical therapy may need to be performed in order to strengthen the muscles and reconstruct the ligaments.