Football Injuries: The Sprained or Twisted Ankle


Twisted ankles are extremely common football injuries and can be sustained on the training ground football matches as well s in competitive matches when tackling is a frequent cause.

The injury occurs during inversion of the ankle (turning the ankle in and spraining the outside ligaments) and comprises 40% of sports injuries.

ligaments of the ankle can be sprained in footballThere are three ligaments that provide the stability to the lateral or outside of the ankle: The anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL) and the posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL). The fist two are the most common to be injured in a twisted ankle and the PTFL is the least likely unless you dislocate the ankle joint!

There is a classification system to ankle injuries and this dictates the treatment:

• Grade I is an injury without macroscopic tears. No mechanical instability is noted and pain and tenderness is minimal.
• Grade II is a partial tear. Moderate pain and tenderness is present. Mild to moderate joint instability may be present.
• Grade III is a complete tear. Severe pain and tenderness, inability to bear weight, and significant joint instability are noted.

The initial treatment of all joint sprains involves RICE. Rest, ice, compression and elevation. The ice should be applied for about 20 minutes three to four times a day and a compressive bandage should also be applied to help control the swelling. Weight bearing she be avoided initially but encouraged as soon as it can be tolerated.

Grade III injuries are obviously a lot more serious and initial treatment should include an ankle brace to immobilise the ankle joint. Once the patient can tolerate weight bearing the brace should be removed and rehabilitation can commence approximately 48 hours after the injury.

The rehabilitation of a severely twisted ankle from football should be gentle initially with simple range of motion exercises. Stretching of the Achilles tendon and cycling on a stationary bike can then follow this.

Our physiotherapist at Islington's Sports Injury and Physiotherapy Clinic will evaluate you constantly and as strength and mobility improve, isometric exercises for ankle dorsiflexion, plantar flexion, inversion, and eversion are implemented. The isometric exercises are followed by resistance exercises (we use Thera-Bands at the clinic) and then heel and toe raises.

Once the pain and inflammation has gone down and there has been a return to gentle exercise a lot of patients get complacent about the treatment of their ankle. Patients dont realise that they still need treatment to get them back to 100% fitness which is the goal of our physiotherapist.

Our physiotherapist is eperienced in the rehabilitation of footbal injuries and will aid your recovery by providing specific taping techniques to the damage joint to aid it's stability and to help with the proprioception re-education process using a 'wobble board'.

At the Angel Wellbeing Clinic our physiotherapist takes things further and motivates patients to move on to proprioceptive and balance exercises so the weakened ankle returns to full function and this minimises the chance of a recurrence.

If you are suffering from a psrained ankle find yourself spraining your ankle regularly you may need some treatment and rehabilitation on the joint. If you wish to make an appointment to see our physiotherapist at the Angel Sports Injury and Physiotherapy Clinic in Islington please click below.


Angel Sports Injury and Physiotherapy Clinic in Islington