Ankle Sprain 101

 

 

Ankle injuries, specifically ankle sprains, are one of the most common sport related musculoskeletal injuries in most sports, especially volleyball. Because of that I will be dedicating this series to the ankle, and sharing with you everything I know to help you learn and understand more about it.

 

How’s it happen? What’s the mechanism of injury?

 

The most common ways  an athlete sprains his or her ankle is a PLANTAR FLEXION/ INVERSION ankle sprain, or when it turns and rolls in. Inversion is one of the motions that the ankle does and goes through, but in the case of an injury, it goes into an extreme of this motion.

 

Another, less commonly seen, way an athlete can roll his or her ankle is through an DORSIFLEXION/ EVERSION ankle sprain. In this case, the ankle goes into, an extreme range of eversion or turning out.

 

The most common ways we see this is when a player lands, whether it be on themselves or another player, especially at the net. Don’t go under!

 

I’ve also seen it happen simply when a player is transitioning off the net or in defense due to poor mechanics or poor ankle stability. 

 

So what happens at the ankle when you sprain your ankle? What did you sprain?

 

Depending on how sprained or rolled your ankle, different structures will be affected. In the case of a:

 

PF/IV - The most commonly injured site is the lateral, or outside, ankle complex, which is made up of s the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL), and the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL).

 

DF/EV - The most commonly injured site in this case is the deltoid ligament, which is on the medial or inside of the foot.

 

Classification Of Ankle Sprains

 

Ankle sprains are classified by grade, 1-3. What grade your sprain is is dependent on the extent of your injury.

 

Grade 1 -  symptoms are pretty mild with some pain and little or no swelling. The joint may feel a little “stiff”, and there may be some degree of difficulty or discomfort with walking or running. More often than not though, the athlete can and will usually play on and finish the training session or game. In these type of injuries, the ligaments are usually stretched rather than completely torn and the ankle should feel better relatively quickly.

 

Grade 2 - The symptoms are more intense with moderate to severe pain. The athlete is unlikely to to play on and will often limp heavily. Swelling and bruising may develop immediately or take several hours. The ankle will feel very stiff but may also feel unstable due to a number of potentially torn or injured ligament fibres.

 

Grade 3- The pain and swelling are going to be severe, and there will be extreme difficulty or inability to walk. In these cases the ligaments are completely torn and the ankle will be very unstable. Different tests and imaging are used to determine this.

 

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