In case of a strained ankle or ankle strain, the ligaments of the ankle are overstretched. The ligaments stabilize the ankle and make a certain range of motion possible. In case of a sprained ankle or ankle sprain, these ligaments tear and cannot stabilize the ankle anymore. The transition from a sprained ankle to strained ankle is fluent. Different symptoms can emerge when suffering from ankle sprain or ankle strain.
Symptoms of a sprained ankle in comparison to a strained ankle are quite similar. Ankle injury can cause a big swelling around the ankle together with reddening, swellings or, especially given ankle sprain, effusions. Ankle pain and around the ankle can occur. The ankle may also be very sensitive to pressure and hurt while standing, walking or turning the foot. Instability of the ankle is also possible, so that the foot twists inwards or outwards.
Symptoms of ankle sprain and ankle strain in short:
The sprained ankle or strained ankle is most commonly caused by twisting the foot or ankle inwards or outwards. Sometimes affected patients may also twist very slightly without noticing it much at first. Overstretching or tearing of the ankle ligaments may especially happen during very ankle-intensive sports activities like football, soccer, basketball or squash. The causes here are often quick and stop-and-go movements, turns or uneven ground. Besides these causes, there are also genetic factors like congenital softness or weakness of ligaments or malposition of the feet.
In case of an assumed ankle sprain or ankle strain, a comprehensive orthopedic examination is carried out often accompanied by imaging procedures like X-raying or MRI. The best method to differentiate between different injuries is MRI. MRI enables us to visualize very different structures during one examination like muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and bones. If it is necessary, we do also apply a well-tolerated contrast agent to improve the visibility of certain structures.