What is included in the physical exam of an ankle sprain?

Updated: Jan 14, 2019
  • Author: Craig C Young, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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The physical examination confirms a diagnosis made on the basis of patient history and differentiates an ankle sprain from a fracture. Examination in patients may include the following tests:

  • Anterior drawer test: To assess for ankle instability (see the image below)

    Anterior drawer test. Anterior drawer test.
  • Prone anterior drawer test: Also tests for ligamentous instability

  • Talar tilt test (or inversion stress maneuver): To assess integrity of the calcaneofibular ligament (see the image below)

    Talar tilt test. Talar tilt test.
  • External rotation test: To evaluate the integrity of the syndesmotic ligaments

  • Kleiger test: Variation of the external rotation test; to assess the integrity of the deltoid ligament

  • Squeeze test (or fibular compression test): To evaluate for syndesmotic or fibular injury

  • Neurovascular evaluation: To assess neurovascular status of the affected limb

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