Twisted ankle – more than a nuisance

Ankle sprains are the most common injury in football. You might not be able to prevent your first ankle sprain, but you can do a great deal to avoid further ones.

Ankle sprains usually follow a typical pattern. Most happen when the sole of your foot rolls under, damaging the ligaments on the outside of the ankle, for example when hitting a bump on the field or another player’s foot when running or landing. A typical mechanism in football is when your opponent slides in and hits the inside of your lower leg, forcing the foot to roll under.

In addition, there are personal risk factors such as ankle strength, range of motion and how you control your movements. These risk factors can be improved with specific exercises, for example as included in the “11+”.  

An important risk factor is when you already had an ankle injury. A semi-rigid or air-supported brace helps to prevent a further sprain and should be worn for several months. In addition, you can do additional balance training using ankle discs or a wobble board.

Most players view an ankle sprain as a nuisance, but you need to protect the ankle so that you do not injure it again.

Symptoms and signs of ankle sprains:

  • Swelling – within minutes or slowly over several hours.
  • Pain when trying to move the ankle and when walking.
  • Stiffness and inability to place full weight on the foot.

First aid

Apply PRICE to the injured ankle.