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Ankle Injuries – How common are they?

With the olympics in full swing, we’re getting behind the aussies in all sports!

Interesting enough, when it comes to sports at this elite level there aren’t many injuries we see or hear about?

Why is this? Surely, there are numerous injuries floating around!

The stress and strain they put on their bodies throughout the gruelling training process in the lead up to the games, must take its toll a some point!

Which leads me onto probably the most common injury we see – the ankle!

Sprains to the ankle are one of the most common sporting injuries. A sprain is defined as a tearing of the ligaments that connect bone to bone and help stabilise the joint. Following an ankle sprain, the ankle joint may become unstable and take a long time to recover.

Anatomy of the ankle

On the outside of the ankle (lateral side), the joint is stabilised by three smaller ligaments; the anterior talofibular (at the front), the calcaneofibular (at the side) and the posterior talofibular (at the back). Sprains to any of these ligaments (inversion sprains, foot twists inward) account for more than 80% of all ankle sprains.

The most commonly injured ligament is the anterior talofibular. Injury to this ligament results in swelling and pain on the outside of the ankle. If the force is more severe, the calcaneofibular ligament is also damaged.


Acute ankle sprains result from a force being applied to the ankle joint which causes excessive range of movement at the joint. Players are immediately aware of the condition and may hear an ‘snap’ or ‘pop’, due to the tearing or stretching of the ligaments.

Immediate Management

The immediate treatment of any soft tissue injury consists of the RICER protocol – rest, ice, compression, elevation and referral. RICE protocol should be followed for 48–72 hours. The aim is to reduce the bleeding and damage within the joint.

The extent of the injury needs to be determined as soon as possible after and advice given on treatment and rehabilitation. In evaluating the injury an X-ray or other testing may be ordered to determine the extent.


Most ankle sprains heal within 2 to 6 weeks, however severe sprains many take as long as 12 weeks.

A comprehensive rehabilitation program minimises the chance of the injury recurring and includes flexibility, balance, stretching, strengthening and sport specific exercises. During this time taping or bracing the ankle may be prescribed to provide support until full function is regained.

*The biggest thing to remember with ankle injuries is that adequate recovery is crucial!

Should you have any concerns, feel free to give us a call on 9982 6555.


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