The Not So Simple Ankle Sprain

Podiatrist CbdLateral ankle sprains

  • most common injury in competitive sports and recreational activities.
  • up to 45% of all athletic injuries (1)
  • up to 70% in high risk sports such as netball and basketball.
  • 67% of ankle sprains are first time sprains
  • 33% are a re-sprain


Sports Physio Sydney CbdRisk of re-sprain is twice as high for over 1 year.

Recurrence rate of first time ankle sprains is 70% without adequate rehabilitation (1)


The most common risk factor is a previous history of sprain.

  • A previous sprain may compromise the strength and integrity of the passive and active stabilisers and interrupt sensory nerve fibres (2))
  • Repeated ankle sprains place an individual at risk for chronic ankle instability (CAI) & ankle osteoarthritis.


The Ottawa Ankle Clinical Prediction Rules are an accurate tool to exclude fractures within the first week after an injury.


Physiotherapy and particular proprioception training is an effective rehabilitation strategy in reducing symptoms and preventing further injuries (3). There is evidence that the longer the proprioceptive training is performed, the greater the preventative effect obtained. Early specific functional training has been shown to be useful not only to accelerate return to play, but also to prevent re-injury.



  1. Sefton JM, Hicks-Little CA, Hubbard TJ, Clemens MG, Yengo CM, Koceja DM, Cordova ML. Sensorimotor function as a predictor of chronic ankle instability. Clinical Biomechanics. 2009 Jun 30;24(5):451-8.
  2. Roos KG, Kerr ZY, Mauntel TC, Djoko A, Dompier TP, Wickstrom EA. The epidemiology of lateral ligament complex ankle sprains in National Collegiate Athletic Association sports. American journal of sports medicine. 2016.The American Journal of Sports MedicineVol 45, Issue 1, pp. 201 – 209.
  3. Doherty C, Bleakley C, Delahunt E, et al Treatment and prevention of acute and recurrent ankle sprain: an overview of systematic reviews with meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med  Published Online First: 08 October 2016.
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