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Ankle sprains and other soft tissue injuries.

Lateral ankle sprains are the most frequently encountered injuries in sports. In the evaluation of lateral ankle injury, one should consider all soft tissue structures (i.e., peroneal tendons, ligaments of the ankle, subtalar joints, around the lateral ankle). The treatment of most ankle sprains has evolved from immobilization to functional rehabilitation. Many patients with ankle sprains return to their previous activities. A few patients are left with pain and residual instability after conservative treatment; thus, the question of when to operate on acute severe ankle sprain remains controversial. The other challenge physicians face is the problem of persistent lateral ankle pain after sprain. This condition may be due to intra-articular or extra-articular pathology (i.e., soft tissue lateral ankle impingement, osteochondral lesion, or partial peroneal tendon tear). Diagnosis can be made with careful history, physical examination, and appropriate ancillary studies. Only proper diagnosis can lead to uncompromised, undelayed patient care.

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