Ankle sprain What is it and how to identify it?

In a sport like soccer where repeated hits, changes of direction, landings and decelerations are made at all times, the ankle joint is especially vulnerable, as is the hip. Historically, ankle sprain in professional football is the most common injury (about 30% of each of the injuries). Even though current studies point to only 15% of injuries executed in soccer players. In addition, relapses of the injury range from 4% to 29% of footballers who have suffered it at some point. This percentage is translated in terms of lost time of between 16 and 24 days due to ankle sprain, even reaching 28 days for the most severe injuries.

This type of sprain is usually caused by a sprain. What is an entorsis? In other words, it is a twist that usually occurs in investment. That is, the sole of the foot faces inwards, while the lateral aspect can touch the ground. Depending on the degree of the sprain, the recovery time can vary, although the most common is that it takes between three and six weeks to recover. The treatment does not usually involve an initial operation, nor does it involve immobilization (as it was a few years ago), but today it is treated with elastic bandages.

How to tell if we have an ankle sprain:

  • Ankle sprains usually occur when walking or running on uneven ground and the foot bends inward, stretching the ankle ligaments beyond their limit and tearing them.
  • The ankle usually swells and walking is painful.
  • Your doctor can diagnose ankle sprains based on the exam and sometimes X-rays.
  • Treatment usually includes PRICE (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression with a bandage and Elevation of the leg) for minor sprains. Immobilization and physical therapy for moderate and severe sprains, and sometimes surgery for very severe sprains.

Now, let's talk about severity levels and how to deal with them. Generally, the area above the injured ligament is sore and swollen. Sometimes individuals with a sprained ankle experience muscle contractions (involuntary contraction of the muscles around the ankle).

The severity of the signs is dependent on the severity of the tear. If the nerves are affected, damaged players may have difficulty deciding without seeing the location of their own foot and ankle (a sense called proprioception).

Mild level

The ligaments are stretched and torn, however the tears are so small that they can only be seen under a microscope. In this situation, the ankle is not often damaged or swollen too much, but it does become weak and more prone to further injury. Recovery can take hours or days.

Moderate to severe

The ligaments suffer a partial rupture. Swelling and bruising of the ankle are common, and walking is uncomfortable, difficult, and painful. Healing takes days or weeks.

If an ankle sprain recurs, the nerves have the potential to be affected.

Very serious

The ligaments are completely torn. It is possible for the entire ankle to swell and bruise. The ankle becomes unstable and the affected player cannot put weight on it.

Healing usually takes 6 to 8 weeks. If the individual does not wait until their ankle is completely healed before resuming usual occupations, the danger of further injury in the future is increased and the ankle may not heal adequately. The nerves also have the possibility of being affected.

Serious ankle sprains have the potential to fracture the cartilage at the ends of the bones in the ankle joint. This injury can be painful in the long term, produce inflammation and, rarely, inconvenience in walking. The joint may become locked or unstable. Occasionally, ankle osteoarthritis can develop at a young age.

As with all types of injuries, early diagnosis will be important for treatment. The treatment at a general level is to rest, taking anti-inflammatories if necessary and, in more extreme cases, there is a possibility of surgery.

It is definitely undeniable that ankle sprain is one of the most common conditions and you have to know how to prevent it correctly. If you want to protect your team then do not hesitate to make our Master's degree in injury prevention.

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