What are the classifications of ankle sprains?

Updated: Jan 14, 2019
  • Author: Craig C Young, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Ankle sprains are classified into the following 3 grades:

  • Grade 1 injuries involve a stretch of the ligament with microscopic tearing but not macroscopic tearing. Generally, little swelling is present, with little or no functional loss and no joint instability. The patient is able to fully or partially bear weight.

  • Grade 2 injuries stretch the ligament with partial tearing, moderate-to-severe swelling, ecchymosis, moderate functional loss, and mild-to-moderate joint instability. Patients usually have difficulty bearing weight.

  • Grade 3 injuries involve complete rupture of the ligament, with immediate and severe swelling, ecchymosis, an inability to bear weight, and moderate-to-severe instability of the joint. Typically, patients cannot bear weight without experiencing severe pain.

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