Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Ankle FAQ

Question:

I sprained my ankle last summer. After a few months it seemed to go back to normal. Will I get arthritis in this ankle later?

Answer:

A grade II or moderate sprain causes partial tearing of a ligament. The patient has bruising, pain, and swelling. A person with a moderate sprain usually has some trouble putting weight on the foot, and there's some loss of function.

Patients who have a grade III or severe sprain completely tear or rupture a ligament. Pain, swelling, and bruising are usually severe. The patient can't put any weight on the joint. An X-ray is usually taken to rule out a broken bone. MRIs tell if the ligament is torn partially or completely.

The long-term outcome of your ankle sprain depends on how severe it was and how it was treated. A broken ankle is more likely to lead to arthritis, especially if it's not stabilized with treatment. It sounds like your symptoms are getting better over time. That's a good sign that you will recover without further problems.

Todd O. McKinley, MD, et al. Incongruity Versus Instability in the Etiology of Posttraumatic Arthritis. In Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research. June 2004.Vol. 423. Pp. 44-51.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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