Lateral ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries in athletes. The rate of injury is as high as 70%. The most commonly involved ligament is the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), followed by the calcaneofibular (CFL) and posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL). The common mechanism of injury is inversion with excessive ankle supination in forced plantarflexion when the ankle joint is in its most unstable position. There are three grades of ankle sprains: Grade I, mild with an incomplete tear of ATFL; Grade II, moderate with a complete tear of ATFL with or without an incomplete tear of CFL; and Grade III, severe with complete tear of ATFL and CFL. Grades I and II respond well to functional treatment. Functional treatment includes RICE protocol, i.e., rest, ice, compression, and elevation. It also includes range of motion and strengthening exercises, proprioceptive training, and sports-specific exercises. Bracing and taping of the ankle joint help in preventing the sprains and also reduce the recurrence of the injury. Grade III ankle injury may be treated with surgery if the symptoms persist post functional treatment. The guidelines provided for the treatment of ankle sprains are of general validity, but each athlete is different with different needs. Hence, a personalized exercise protocol should be followed to achieve best results.
Part of the book: Essentials in Hip and Ankle