Are you suffering from a potential sprained ankle? 

The Omaha Foot & Ankle Specialists at MD West ONE are able to properly diagnose and treat a sprained ankle injury through both surgical and non-surgical treatments. If you have the following symptoms, you may want to make an appointment with one of our Board Certified Specialists.

  • Pain when weight bearing
  • Swelling in ankle/foot region
  • Bruising
  • Sound of a pop or snap at the time of injury

Meet MD West ONE's foot and ankle specialists and learn more about how they treat a sprained ankle injury.

Sprained Ankle Causes, Treatments & Surgery

How does a sprained ankle happen?

The most common mechanism is rolling the ankle inward, also known as an inversion injury.  This can injure the lateral ankle ligaments.   If the foot turns inward under the leg there is stretching force on the outer or lateral ankle ligaments.  The common activities that can lead to this include stepping on an uneven surface that turns the foot in and under, jumping and landing on the outer margin of the foot and having the weight of the body turn the foot completely on its side,  cutting and stopping suddenly as the foot is planted and the body keeps moving.   These mechanisms are common in athletic activities but also can occur when we slip on the stairs, step down off a curb, step in a hole, or twist on a slippery surface.   An Eversion force is what injures the deltoid ligament on the inner aspect of the ankle.   In this injury the foot rolls or twists outward from under the leg.  This injury is much less common than the lateral ankle injury and usually more force is needed to injure the deltoid ligament.   In addition to an isolated severe twisting force, mechanisms here may involve some type of contact with another individual or a fall from a height.  Tearing of the syndesmotic ligaments, the ligaments between the tibia and fibula, can occur when the foot is rotated outward as the leg turns or rotates inward.  As this mechanism is similar to that for a deltoid ligament injury it is not uncommon to sprain the deltoid and syndesmotic ligaments at the same time. 

How are sprained ankles diagnosed?

A diagnosis is determined after a thorough history and physical examination are performed.  The history is important as knowing the mechanism of injury helps the evaluator to have a full understanding of the structures most at risk.  Also, any pre-existing symptoms or conditions may aid in making an accurate diagnosis.  The physical exam should not include the direct area of pain, but also structures within the leg up to the knee and down into the foot.   Injuries can be more complex than just a single process and it is important to make sure structures in the region are thoroughly evaluated.  Locations of tenderness or lack of tenderness are key findings in additions to a check of motion, strength, and stability.  Sometimes early following the injury process the muscles may guard and protect and the true extent of instability/ligament looseness may not be evident.  If there is a concern regarding a fracture of bone then x-rays are indicated, but certainly not all ankle sprains need to be x-rayed.   Advanced imaging such as an MRI scan is not needed to make the diagnosis in most cases of a ligament sprain in the ankle.  If the evaluator has concerns regarding the presence of a tendon injury or there is uncertainly about the extent of a more serious ligament process then MRI scanning is usually the imaging test of choice.   MRI or CT scanning can also be requested if there is suspicion of a bone injury not seen or x-rays.  


All of the foot and ankle surgeons in the practice are recognized members of the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. It is the oldest and most prestigious medical society dedicated to the foot and ankle. The mission of the society is to advance science and practice of foot and ankle surgery through education, research, and advocacy on behalf of patients and practitioners. These physicians dedicate their time and energy to improving the patient experience and their knowledge in their field. For more information visit

MD West ONE Foot & Ankle Specialists:

The Foot & Ankle Specialists are all Board Certified and Fellowship-Trained, meaning they’ve focused their education, training and research on orthopaedic surgery of the foot and ankle.