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The most common sporting injury

With popular sports, such as football, netball and basketball requiring rapid changes in direction, ankles often bear the brunt of this force.

We spoke to Scott Murray, Physiotherapist, who told us more about this injury and how it can be prevented.

“In our clinic, the most common sporting injury that I treat is a sprain (over stretching) to the lateral (outside) ligaments (bands of tissue that provide support and stability to a joint) of the ankle. 

Sprained Ankle

The most commonly injured lateral ligament is the ATFL or anterior talofibular ligament. This is injured in 85% of ankle sprains due to the mechanics of the ankle joint, and the ease with which it rolls inwards. 

When a ligament is sprained the extent of the injury can be graded on a scale from 1 to 3. With a grade 1 being stretching and minor tearing of ligament fibres, grade 2 being moderate tearing, and grade 3 being a complete rupture. 

Despite ankle injuries being very common, there are a lot of things you can do to reduce the chance of sustaining one, or having a reoccurrence. These include: 

  • Wearing suitable footwear for the sport you are participating in.
  • Adequately warming up and stretching before playing or training.
  • Practicing exercises aimed at improving balance and ankle strength.
  • Seeing a physiotherapist or doctor after injuring your ankle to make sure that a correct diagnosis is made. 
  • Ensuring a suitable rehabilitation program is followed after an ankle sprain.  This is important as it can reduce the chance of persistent ankle pain, or a reoccurrence happening. A physiotherapist can assist you with such rehabilitation.
  • Wearing ankle braces or being strapped if your physiotherapist feels there is a need for additional support.”

Scott Murray (BSc (Physiotherapy),  BSc (Sports and Exercise Science), MAPA) is a Practice Principal at Whole Health Physiotherapy in Nedlands.

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