A sprained ankle can be the source of a lot of pain and inconvenience. So what are some of the causes for a sprained ankle? What is the difference between a grade 2 ankle sprain and a grade 3 ankle sprain? What is the general ankle sprain recovery time? This injury often happens when an individual rolls, twists, or turns their ankle awkwardly and incorrectly. This movement can cause stretching or tears to the body’s tough tissue bands called ligaments, which help hold ankle bones together. Ligaments also help sustain joints and prevent any excessive movement that might be hard on the body. 


As mentioned above, an ankle sprain is usually the result of forcing the ankle out of its’ expected position, causing one or more ligaments to stretch. These awkward movements and overstretching may also lead to ligament tears or partial tears. Some of the more common causes for these types of movements are:

  • Landing awkwardly after a jump or pivot.grade 2 ankle sprain
  • Falling and causing the ankle to twist.
  • Exercising or walking on an uneven surface, such as sand or dirt. 
  • An outside force such as another person stepping or landing on the individual’s foot.

Risk Factors

Though ankle sprains can happen easily by misstepping, a few risk factors may make specific individuals more exposed to this injury.

  • Uneven Surfaces: Physical activity on uneven surfaces such as sand, dirt, or poor field conditions may increase the likelihood of an ankle sprain happening.


  • Playing Sports: Individuals who participate in sports have a higher chance of getting a sprained ankle, especially with activities that require jumping or cutting action. Some of these sports include basketball, soccer, beach volleyball, and tennis.


  • Incorrect Shoes: Shoes that do not fit properly or are not meant for specific activities make ankles prone to sprains, twisting, and rolling. High heels are especially damaging.


  • Previous Ankle Injury: Once a person sprains their ankle, they are more likely to sprain it again. 


The symptoms of an ankle sprain may vary depending on the severity of the injury. Some common symptoms include:

  • Pain, specifically when putting weight on the injured foot
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling and redness
  • Bruising
  • Restricted range of movements

It is essential to talk to a doctor if an individual thinks they may have sprained their ankle. 

Difference Between Grade 2 Ankle Sprain and Grade 3 Ankle Sprain:

All ankle sprains are painful and uncomfortable, but some injuries may cause more pain and complications than others. There are different types of ankle sprains.


  • Grade 1 Ankle Sprain: Stretch or slight ligament tear with moderate tenderness, swelling, and stiffness. The ankle feels stable, and it is usually possible to walk with minimal pain. This grade of injury usually heals in 2-3 weeks. 


  • Grade 2 Ankle Sprain: Partial ligament tear with increased moderate pain, bruising, and some swelling. The ankle still feels somewhat stable; however, the affected areas are tender and swollen to the touch. Walking is painful. This grade of injury is slightly more severe and may take from 4-6 weeks to heal.


  • Grade 3 Ankle Sprain: This kind of injury is a complete ligament tear. Swelling and bruising accompany severe pain. The ankle is no longer stable and probably very painful to walk on. This injury is severe and may take three months or more to heal.


  • Anterior Ankle Sprain: Also known as “high ankle sprain,” is an injury involving different sets of ligaments than in the traditional ankle sprain. These ligaments are above the ankle joint, between the tibia and fibula, forming what is known as syndesmosis. Healing time varies from six weeks to six months and may even require surgery.
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