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04 Tue

Ankle Sprain Grades

Ankle Sprain Grades

Michelle Millner, PT, DPT, OCS


Rolling your ankle or twisting it can lead to a sprain of the ankle. But what does that really mean? A sprain means that the connective tissue connecting one bone to another (ligaments) gets over stretched or torn during the injury.

Grade 1 Sprain: a mild injury and mild stretch to the ligament. Symptoms will include pain, mild swelling. There could be some bruising. Range of motion is usually intact, or mildly limited. Weight bearing would be mildly limited and splinting the ankle is not necessary.

Grade 2 Sprain: a moderate injury with moderate stretch to the ligament and tearing of some, but not all fibers of the ligament. There will be moderate tenderness, pain, swelling; and bruising is likely. Range of motion is impaired. Weight bearing may be slightly limited, and splinting with an aircast is recommended.

Grade 3 Sprain: A severe injury with a complete tear of the ligament. There will be significant tenderness, pain, swelling, and bruising. Range of motion will be severely limited. Weight bearing will be severely limited. Splinting is needed and surgical reconstruction might be indicated.


The best course of action if you roll or twist your ankle is to RICE.

Rest– get off your feet as soon as possible.

Ice– use an gel pack or a bag of frozen peas on the area for 20 minutes with 20 minute break. Be sure to use a towel in between the ice and your skin to avoid burns.

Compression– wrap your ankle with a compression wrap to decrease the amount of swelling.

Elevate-rest your leg above heart level to encourage the swelling out of the area.

If you suspect that you have sprained your ankle use the RICE acronym to help you treat your symptoms and consider consulting with one of our physical therapists to rule out serious pathology and to guide you in your rehabilitation process.

Like more information?  Please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices are located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit us.



Image courtesy of artur84 /

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