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The Difference Between High & Low Ankle Sprains


In the U.S. an estimated 25,000 ankle injuries occur each day, so you are probably no stranger to having a sprained ankle or seeing someone else sprain their ankle. Generally speaking, there are two types of ankle sprains that are diagnosed depending on where the injury is located on the ankle – the low ankle sprain and the high ankle sprain.


Low Ankle Injury

This is the classic ankle injury where the ankle rolls inward stretching the ligaments that connect the bones in the ankle joint. Medically this is called an inversion ankle sprain. 80% of all ankle injuries are inversion related. The alternative to an inversion sprain would be when the ankle rolls outward, again stretching the ligaments that connect the bones in the ankle joint resulting in an eversion ankle sprain.

Low Ankle Injury Brace Recommendations By Situation

  • Help prevent ankle injuries – Ultra Zoom
  • Help recover from mild to moderate ankle sprains – Ultra Zoom
  • Treat chronic ankle instability and it's resulting injuries – Ultra High-5

Additional Resources

High Ankle Injury

High ankle injuries occur when the foot/ankle externally rotate, stretching the tissue holding the two lower leg bones (tibia & fibula) together. This injury occurs above the ankle joint, thus the name high ankle injury. An athlete with a high ankle injury will have more pain and a longer rehabilitation period when compared to a low ankle injury. Medically this injury is called a syndesmotic’ ankle injury.

High Ankle Injury Brace Recommendations By Situation

  • Wearing a Brace After an Acute Injury – Ultra CTS
  • Transitioning out of a Walking Boot to an Ankle Brace – Ultra CTS
  • Return to Activity After a High Ankle Sprain – Ultra High-5

Additional Resources

Recovering from an Ankle Injury

Depending on the type and severity of the sprain you get, there are a variety of treatment options available to help you return to activity as quickly and safely as possible. Before returning to play or beginning any rehabilitation on your injured ankle, it's important for you to consult your medical professional to receive a treatment plan that is specific to your injury.

After you've healed, your doctor may continue to prescribe an icing regimen, rehab exercises, and the use of an ankle brace to aide your treatment.

With each ankle sprain, the ligaments in your ankle joint become more and more loose, making the odds of a re-sprain occurring as high as 70%. For this reason, it's highly recommended that strength/balance exercises are completed as well as wearing a preventative ankle brace to help prevent or reduce the severity of future ankle injuries if, and when, they occur.

If you're not sure which ankle brace would be most helpful for your situation, send one of our athletic trainers a message and we'd be happy to talk through it with you! 

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Rick Peters

Written by Rick Peters

Rick Peters is a Certified Athletic Trainer who has been advancing ankle bracing technology for three decades. Peters patented his first ankle brace in 1985, revolutionizing the industry by adding a hinge to traditional stirrup braces for greater mobility. In 1989 he was a founder and became President of Active Ankle Systems. In 1998 he co-founded Ultra Athlete LLC to develop the next generation of ankle bracing technology. Peters has 18 ankle brace patents and is considered an authority on ankle bracing technology worldwide.


Ultra Zoom 7"

Ultra Zoom®

Prevent & Perform

Help prevent ankle injuries all season long.

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Ultra High-5 8"

Ultra High-5®

Reinforce & Recover

Reinforce the ankle after a history of multiple ankle injuries.

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Ultra CTS 10"

Ultra CTS®

Treat & Rehabilitate

Maximum stabilization to treat acute ankle injuries.

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