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Foot Health: With fall sports in full swing, don’t let those high ankle sprains sideline your athlete

By Dr. Jamie Settles Carter
Special to KyForward

As Fall is in full swing and winter is quickly approaching, football season and basketball season are upon us. And you can’t have sports without sports’ injuries, right?

One injury, in particular, keeps athletes out for longer periods of time, and that is the high ankle sprain. Different than a common ankle sprain in that it injures a set of ligaments located above the ankle joint. This area is especially prone to injury because it is exposed to high forces in athletics like running, cutting, and contact.

The difficult thing is that these high ankle sprains have very little swelling or bruising, making them hard to see with the naked eye. The telltale sign that a high ankle sprain has occurred is when athletes experience pain radiation from the ankle up when performing twisting motions. And this is when you should go see your doctor.

Sometimes a really bad ankle sprain can be worse than a break.

If it’s a break, you’re going to cast it, immobilize it, and sometimes depending on the break, put pins in, and the ankle will heal up correctly.

With a bad ankle sprain, people don’t always get the care they need because they assume it will just heal on its own.

This is NOT the case.

If proper treatment isn’t given, the ankle never heals properly, tendons and ligaments are loose, and one could have a ‘bad’ ankle for the rest of their life!

The key words are severe pain. Severe ankle sprains often have ligament tears or fractures involved, which must be treated by a doctor with a cast or other immobilizing device in order to heal properly.

In some cases surgery may even be necessary. But the best thing for high ankle sprains is the good old-fashioned RICE therapy.


If you experience any sports-related sprains this season, be sure to make an appointment with your Podiatrist to get it checked out. The last thing you want is to ignore a sprain and have a forever lasting weak ankle!


Dr. Jamie Settles Carter is a Podiatrist and partner at Lexington Podiatry

For more Foot Health columns, click here.

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