Foot Sprain, Ankle Sprain and High Ankle Sprain Causes and Rehab

Many times when people are inquiring about foot sprains what they mean is that they had an ankle sprain. To be safe, we are going to make sure you understand everything about a foot sprain an ankle sprain and a high ankle sprain. Both of these injuries can happen in the blink of an eye from things like unstable surfaces. The severity of these injuries have three different levels, and they play a huge role in deciding how long it will take to return from the injury.

What is an Ankle Sprain?

An ankle sprain is often referred to as a rolled ankle. The two different types of ankle sprains are inversion sprains and eversion sprains. Inversion sprains are when the sole rolls inward and sprain the lateral ankle injuries. Eversion sprains are where the ankle rolls outward and stretches the medial ankle ligaments. The more common ankle injury is the inversion ankle roll.

What is a High Ankle Sprain?

A high ankle sprain is similar to a typical ankle sprain but it affects ligaments higher up that bind the fibula and shin bone. The injury is much more severe than a regular ankle sprain and takes longer to recover from. The injury damages the syndesmosis joint which helps to stabilize the tibia and fibula bones.

What is a Foot Sprain?

A foot sprain is much harder to pinpoint compared to an ankle injury because there are so many ligaments in the food. Figuring out which ligament is sprained is no easy task. Ligaments hold bony structures in the body together, and the foot has a bunch of tiny bones secured by ligaments. Sometimes the only way to repair this injury is with the help of an orthopedic surgeon.

Causes of an Ankle Sprain

  • Running on uneven ground
  • Landing while jumping
  • Change of direction
  • Sports
  • Walking in High Heel or platform shoes
  • Slipping

Common Sports to Suffer Ankle Injuries 

  • Basketball
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Football
  • Soccer

Causes of a High Ankle Sprain

  • Landing on Foot of another athlete
  • Any ankle rolls that also put the foot in extra dorsiflexion

Sports That Suffer High Ankle Sprains

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball

Causes of a Foot Sprain

Common Sports With Foot Sprains

Sprain Symptoms

  • Body put in an unnatural position by a twist or roll
  • Swelling
  • Sore to touch
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising
  • Inability to handle body weight
  • Stiffness
  • Skin discoloration

Grades of Sprains

Foot Sprain - Ankle Sprain

Grade 1 Sprain

  • Mild symptoms
  • Light stretching of ligaments
  • Able to walk comfortably after

Grade 2 Sprain

  • Severe ankle sprain
  • Increased swelling and showing of other symptoms
  • Difficult to walk on after an injury
  • Takes  2- 4 weeks of recovery time
  • Usually a partially torn ligament or severely stretched ligament

Grade 3 Sprain

  • A complete tear of ligaments
  • Causes severe pain
  • Discoloration of an injured area
  • Very difficult to move or walk
  • Could also be a fracture
  • Takes 6+ weeks for recovery

Treatment for a Foot Sprain, Ankle Sprain, and High Ankle Sprain

For immediate pain, it has often been suggested that the best step to take is to put ice on the injury. There is more research showing that ice slows down the bodies natural healing process. Don’t rule it out just yet though because ice can still help to deal with some of the pain after these injuries.

The best thing you can do is compress the injury and keep it elevated to help keep the swelling down. Whenever you do not need to be on your feet, the best thing you can do is get your feet over your heart.

You may take some pain medication, but you do not want to take too much fit is not essential. Pain gives you a good idea of how the healing process is going and painkillers can make you think you are doing better than you are.

If you work with a healthcare provider, they will be able to use different modalities to help speed up the healing process. Treatments like the laser, stim, ultrasounds, and Graston are a small example of the types of procedures you can get to speed up the healing process.

Once the swelling is gone and mobility is improving again, the actual rehab process of these injuries can begin. It is at this point that the real work begins. For an athlete, this rehab can take longer and be much more aggressive.

The rehab for these lower leg ligament injuries will always consist of strengthening the stability of that ligament that was injured and strengthening the surrounding muscles. There are many different ways to go about doing this, but some of the more popular methods are below.

Rehab for a Twisted Ankle and High Ankle Sprain


  • Strengthens the tibialis anterior
  • Helps prevent many different lower leg injuries

Inversion + Eversion Band Work

  • Help prevent ankle rolls
  • Strengthens perineal muscles and posterior tibialis

High Ankle - Foot Sprain - Ankle Sprain

Stability Work

  • Most practical ankle strengthening work because you often injure ankle on an unstable surface
  • The goal is to make all stabilizers work hard to prevent injury
  • Best done barefoot to start

High Ankle - Foot Sprain - Ankle Sprain

Rehab for a Foot Sprain

Golf Ball Rolling

  • Helps separate little bones of the feet, so they operate independently
  • Keeps soft tissue of the feet happy and healthy
  • Should be done twice a day

Marble Pickup

  • Helps work on smaller muscles and ligaments in feet
  • Practice grabbing marbles with different toes and moving them to a bucket

High Ankle - Foot Sprain - Ankle Sprain

Toe Walk + Heel Walk

  • To help prepare feet for pounding and activity practice walking in different positions

High Ankle - Foot Sprain - Ankle Sprain

Types of Healthcare Providers That Can Help With Foot Sprain, Ankle Sprain, and High Ankle Sprain

Many different providers can play a role in an ankle sprain rehab. The key to choosing a right healthcare provider knows what you want in a healthcare provider and knowing where to look. All of these types of providers can help.

How to Find The Best Healthcare Providers for Foot and Ankle Sprains

9INE POINT Health is the best place to start looking for sports medicine providers. 9INE POINT Health lets you search for healthcare providers based on the type of practitioner but also by skill set. Meaning if you want to work with a Physical Therapist that specializes in ankles, or you want a Chiropractor that also knows acupuncture, 9INE POINT Health will show you the best local options. Each health care provider comes with a 9INE POINT Number to make choosing simpler.

KHO Health was acquired by was acquire by 9INE POINT in the summer of 2019 and is now referred to as 9INE POINT Health.


9INE POINT Health was created by 9INE POINT in '19 as a means to provide athlete-driven resources to "Protect Athletes' Minds, Body and Belly". As well as be a platform for healthcare providers and other specialists to display their knowledge.


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