Although an eversion ankle sprain is not as common as an inversion one, it can be equally or even more problematic for your ankle joint.
See, eversion is a medical term we use to describe when your ankle rolls outward.
If this motion goes beyond its limits, it can cause an eversion sprain – damage to the bones and/or ligaments on the inner side of the ankle.
Below, you’ll learn everything you need to know about eversion ankle sprains. Here’s what we’ll cover – tap on any of these to go straight to that section:
Causes of eversion sprains
The deltoid ligaments are found in the inner side of your ankle. They limit how much you can roll your ankle outwards, helping keep the joint stable.
Now, eversion ankle sprains occur when you accidentally roll your ankle outwards, stretching the natural limits of these ligaments. This can happen in activities such as (1):
- Running downstairs.
- Landing on an uneven surface.
- Dancing with the body simultaneously rotating in the opposite direction.
Symptoms of eversion sprains
Much like other types of ankle injuries, you’ll feel pain, swelling, and bruising.
Now, in most ankle sprains, these symptoms are located on the outer side of the joint. But in eversion sprains, they will be present on the inner side of the ankle.
You may also feel tenderness while touching the inner side of your ankle bones. (2)
But, the risk of fractures is high in eversion sprains.
See, this type of sprain rarely occurs on its own. The deltoid ligaments are very strong, so the force of the injury may transfer to nearby bones and ligaments. (3)
Here are some ankle injuries that can come with an eversion ankle sprain (4):
- Avulsion fracture. The deltoid ligament pulls its attachment, taking a chunk of the bone.
- Maisonneuve fracture. A type of fracture of your calf bone.
- High ankle sprain. A syndesmotic ankle injury that affects the lower front area of your ankle.
Treatments for eversion sprains
Most of the time, the recovery process is the same as with an inversion ankle sprain, where your ankle rolls inwards. (5)
However, the differences in treatment depend on the severity of your injury. The most common treatments for an eversion sprained ankle include:
Further reading: What to do when you sprain your ankle?
1) RICE protocol
Ankle pain and swelling will gradually develop after your initial injury. You can ease these down even at home by combining:
- Rest – Avoiding strenuous activities that may harm your ankle.
- Ice – Placing a cold/ice pack over your inner ankle, 10 minutes at a time.
- Compression – Wrapping your ankle with an elastic bandage.
- Elevation – Gravity can help you reduce swelling by elevating your injured foot.
This combination of treatments is especially helpful during the first 5 days of your injury. (5)
However, if your symptoms don’t improve, please get your ankle checked by a medical doctor. Your ankle sprain may be severe.
Check this out: How to ice your sprained ankle injury properly
2) Consult your doctor
Your doctor will suggest which type of treatment you should do after performing a physical exam and checking your imaging tests.
In the event of a broken bone or associated high ankle sprains, you’ll probably have to use a cast or walking boot. (6) These devices restrict foot and ankle motion to let the healing process goes run its course safely.
For severe cases, surgery may have to be done. This will fix any severe malalignment in the case of fractures. (7)
3) Go to physical therapy
Your doctor will refer you for PT to fully and quickly recover from this ankle sprain. Your therapist will help you manage pain, swelling, and prevent further injury.
Once in rehab, your physio will design a treatment plan with passive strategies and exercise therapy to fix any lingering imbalances. This will also prevent recurrent ankle sprains in the future.
Learn more: Physiotherapy for ankle sprains.
How long does an eversion ankle sprain take to heal?
Evidence suggests that recovery is twice as long compared to inversion sprains. (5) So, at least a few months, depending on its severity.
Why are eversion ankle sprains less common?
This may be due to the ankle anatomy itself.
The deltoid ligaments are the strongest among your ankle ligaments, making them particularly difficult to sprain. (3) Also, the length of your calf bone restricts the amount of eversion available.
What is the fastest way to heal an eversion ankle sprain?
first, make sure you don’t have a broken ankle. Once that’s cleared, do the RICE protocol from day one and strengthen your ankle once the pain subsides.
Conclusion: Ankle eversion sprain
An eversion ankle sprain may not happen as often as other ankle sprains. But should it happen to you, there are steps that you can take to manage the symptoms and recover from the injury.
- Hintermann, Beat et al. “Deltoid ligament injuries: diagnosis and management.” Foot and ankle clinics vol. 11,3 (2006): 625-37. DOI: 10.1016/j.fcl.2006.08.001
- Hintermann, Beat et al. “Medial ankle instability: an exploratory, prospective study of fifty-two cases.” The American journal of sports medicine vol. 32,1 (2004): 183-90. DOI: 10.1177/0095399703258789
- Melanson SW, Shuman VL. Acute Ankle Sprain. [Updated 2021 Jul 29]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459212/
- Campagne, Danielle MD. “Ankle Sprains.” Merck Manual Professional Version. Mar 21. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries-poisoning/sprains-and-other-soft-tissue-injuries/ankle-sprains
- Brukner, P et al. “Acute Ankle Injuries.” Clinical Sports Medicine. 4th ed., McGraw-Hill Australia, 2011, page 816. https://books.google.com.ph/books/about/Brukner_Khan_s_Clinical_Sports_Medicine.html?id=05GHZwEACAAJ&redir_esc=y
- van den Bekerom, Michel P J et al. “What is the evidence for rest, ice, compression, and elevation therapy in the treatment of ankle sprains in adults?.” Journal of athletic training vol. 47,4 (2012): 435-43. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3396304/
- Zhao, Hong-Mou et al. “Surgical treatment of ankle fracture with or without deltoid ligament repair: a comparative study.” BMC musculoskeletal disorders vol. 18,1 543. 21 Dec. 2017, DOI: 10.1186/s12891-017-1907-4