Do you or have you ever sprained your ankle?
If you ever played basketball there is a high chance that you have sprained your ankle. Ankle sprains are the most common injury in basketball at all levels. Furthermore, the most common type of ankle sprain is the lateral ankle sprain, followed by high ankle sprain then medial ankle sprain.
If you want to learn more about the differences between high and lateral ankle sprains check this video out HERE.
In this blog we will go over the basics of lateral ankle sprains, like an lateral ankle sprain 101 course.
What is Injured?
There are 3 main lateral ankle ligaments: anterior talofibular ligament, calcaneofibular ligament, and posterior tibiofibular ligament. The anterior talofibular ligament accounts for ⅔ of all lateral ankle sprains followed by the calcaneal fibular ligament.
How is it Injured?
A lateral ankle sprain occurs in multiple ways, but the most common is when an athlete lands on another athlete’s foot. For example, when a person is coming down and landing after jumping up for a rebound. Another common way is cutting or changing directions and the foot rolls over.
The main mechanism of injury involves plantar flexion and inversion. In other words, the ankle will be pointing down and to the inside. Moreover, what happens is that the body weight of the athlete goes to the outside part of the ankle and increases the risk for the ankle sprain.
What are the Signs & Symptoms?
Typically on the outside of the ankle
Immediately or after you take off your shoes
3. Ecchymosis (aka Brusing)
It is usually delayed (may appear a couple days after) and its on the outside part of the foot.
Tenderness on the outside portion of your foot especially if you point your foot towards the midline of your body, or inward.
How Long Will I Be Out For?
It depends mostly on the grade of severity of the ankle sprain. About 85% of ligament injuries are grade I or II
- Ligament is Stressed & Injured; No Detected Laxity
- Minimal to No Loss of Function
- <5 Degrees of Motion Loss
- <0.5cm of Swelling
- Rapid Recovery in 1st 14 days
- Quickest Recovery in Comparison to Other Grades: 2-6 weeks
- Moderate Ligament Stretch & Damage
- Laxity Detected Compared to Other Ankle
- Loss or Decrease in Overall Function
- 5-10 Degrees of Motion Loss
- 0.5-2.0cm of Swelling
- Rapid Recovery in 1st 14 Days
- Longer Recovery: 4-12 Weeks
- Complete or Near Complete Disruption of Ligament Fibers
- Significant Laxity Detected Compared to Other Ankle
- Severe Loss in Overall Function
- >10 Degrees of Motion Loss
- >2.0cm of Swelling
- Rapid Recovery in 1st 14 Days
- May Require Surgery if Laxity Persists
- No Strong Evidence on Return Timetable
What are Some of the Risk Factors?
1. Previous Ankle Sprain
This is the highest risk factor there is for future ankle sprains. Studies have shown up to a 50 percent chance of re-spraining your ankle. Ultimately, the reason for the high risk factor is that the majority of people do not do their rehab.
As a result, we created the 4 week ankle sprain p/rehab program (Check it Out) to help athletes and yourself take care of your ankle the proper way.
2. Decreased Ankle Dorsiflexion Range of Motion
3. Decreased Peroneal Strength
Decreased peroneal strength leads to decreased control of ankle inversion. In other words, the weaker the peroneal muscles are the lower the opportunity to decrease another ankle sprain or a more severe one.
4. Decreased Balance
One of the main reasons why athletes sprain their ankle is due to decreased somatosensory feedback. In other words, athletes don’t have or lose sensation in their feet which will lead to decreased proprioception, or awareness of your body in space.
5. Decreased Lateral Hip Strength:
Studies have shown decreased gluteus medius strength with associated lateral ankle sprain. The reason is that the gluteus medius helps provide lateral stabilization to decrease ankle sprains.
Want to Learn More
Check Out This Video:
The Ankle Sprain P/Rehab Program was developed by doctors of physical therapy and movement specialists that have treated countless athletes following an ankle sprain.
It is an easy to follow, step-by-step, program to optimize the function and health of your foot and ankle. It will teach you how to regain and improve your mobility, and while building a strong and stable foundation for your foot and ankle.
Ultimately, our program is designed to help you perform at your best following an ankle sprain, while diminishing your risk of another injury!
- 4-Week Program; 5 Training Days per Week
- 85+ Video Instructed Exercises
- Detailed Step-By-Step Exercise videos
- Objective Assessments to track your progress throughout the entire program
- Lifetime Access to the Program & Exercises
Halabchi et al. Acute ankle sprain in athletes:clinical aspects and algorithmic approach
Huang et al Effects of plyometric and balance training on neuromuscular control of recreational athletes with functional ankle instability: A randomized controlled laboratory study
Peteresen et al Treatment of acute ankle ligament injuries: a systematic review
Dr. Gabriel Ignacio PT, DPT, OCS, TPI
Dr. Marco Lopez PT, DPT, CSCS
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