A sprained ankle is one of the most common acute injuries in many sports, including volleyball, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, and many others. They happen most commonly when landing after jumping, cutting or changing directions, pivoting, and other athletic movements.
So, is an ankle injury in the forecast?
After reviewing various research studies, different researchers have concluded that these may be risk factors or predictors whether or not you will injure your ankle.
1. Past history
Some studies have found that if a player sustained an ankle injury, he or she, could potentially be 5 times more likely to sustain another one. This may be due to the fact that when you sprain your ankle, you may damage certain structures, like ligaments, that help to stabilize the ankle. Injuring them once or repeatedly compromises its integrity and ability to perform its function.
Important note though: The findings are actually divided and it is not 100% correlated that injuring your ankle once will lead to another injury. What was the difference? Other factors to consider are the type of, quality of, and compliance with rehabilitation.
2. Warm up
A study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that players who did not perform proper warm up or stretching prior to competition were 2.6x more likely to sustain an ankle injury as opposed to those who did.
3. Jumping and Landing Mechanics
One of the most common times when ankle injuries and sprains occur are when individuals land after jumping. Jumping and landing is a dynamic skill that requires a lot of strength, stability, and coordination. Learning and training how to do it properly will not only help with performance, but help to reduce risk of injury.
4. Ankle Mobility - Dorsiflexion
A study out of The University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, found some statistically significant and valuable information supporting that decreased ankle dorsiflexion (how much the ankle can bend up), is a significant risk factor for ankle injury, specifically in volleyball players.
When the ankle lacks mobility, specifically dorsiflexion, the ankle is more rigid. That means impact with the ground will be harder. Lack of range of motion coupled with a harder impact means the forces cannot be distributed as evenly, which means it will put more stress onto or compromise
If you, your son or daughter, or someone else you know checked off on a lot of these do not worry. There's a lot we can do to help and reduce the chances of this happening or happening again. Feel free to reach out to us and stay tuned for more information on this topic.
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Predictive Factors for Lateral Ankle Sprains: A Literature Review
Ankle injuries in basketball: Injury rate and risk factors
Risk factors for anlke sprain in volleyball players: A preliminary analysis