Ankle injuries in sports practice

Physical activity is one of the main pillars of the WHO recommendations to have a healthy lifestyle jointly with good diet and hydration.

A good physical state improves the cardiovascular functions and the muscles in general, essential cornerstone of the preservation and good use of the joints.

The sports practices boost a greater function and metabolism of the joints, muscles, and tendons, which is nowadays essential, as the good weather increases the physical activity and sport practice among the people.

However, the physical activity and sport also entail a possible increase in injuries and an important percentage of them can be localized in the ankle.

With the good weather there is an important increase in sports practices. Hiking, jogging, team sports, etc. suppose an increase in the number of injuries.

Almost everyone has suffered an ankle’s sprain at any moment when practicing sports. And the problem lies many times in the banalization of these injuries, which can contribute to an increase of their sequels.

The ankle sprain, especially in inversion (lateral) is one of the most frequent injuries in sports practice, with an increasing incidence in any moment of the sports practice and at any age.

In most cases it is a minor injury, but it can have worse consequences as severe injuries or sequels that may require surgical interventions.

The most important step that we need to do after an ankle sprain is assess the injury of the ligamentous structures, rule out bone injuries and initiate an adequate treatment.

During the last years, the treatment of these injuries in their acute phase is based on the acronym of POLICE(Protection, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, Elevation), which means:

  • Protecting the ankle with a bandage or an ankle brace.
  • Bear a tolerating load (no absolute resting but in case there is pain it can vary from not bearing the foot until putting all the body’s weight according to the patient’s tolerance).
  • Local ice.
  • Compression with a bandage to avoid oedema and swelling.
  • Foot elevation.

However, it is also needed to assess the pain on the bone sports and the weight bearing capacity and, in case of doubt, performing XR to rule out fibular and tibial – even of the 5th metatarsus base – injuries, as they are frequently missed.

The correct approach of these sprains can avoid future complications as residual pain or ankle weaknesses, even surgical interventions.

The assessment of the ankle by a specialist and a correct physiotherapy treatment are essential to recover the joint with good proprioception and correct movement to enjoy the physical activity and the sports practice.

In case that the sprain’s evolution is not the expected, these sprains’ sequels can be solved by an ankle arthroscopy, a surgical procedure which we have been using for many years developing and defining new pathologies, new treatments and integral programs of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery for these injuries.

Dr. David Barastegui

Specialist in Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology
Unity of Ankle Arthroscopic Surgery
Instituto Cugat


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Consultas sobre dudas médicas de Traumatología y Rehabilitación. Si Ud. tiene alguna pregunta sobre Traumatología o Rehabilitación, por favor cumplimente estos datos y le daremos respuesta lo antes posible