Return to play after a lateral ligament ankle sprain

Review written by Shruti Nambiar info

Key Points

  1. Incidence of ankle sprain injury ranges from 0.3 to 9 for every 1000 hrs of activity, and is commonly seen among athletes involved in contact sports.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Athletes have a higher risk of re-injury in the one year following a first-time lateral ankle sprain (1). Lateral ankle sprain management and return to sport (RTS) decision-making is usually based on anecdotal evidence, clinician experience and clinical reasoning (1). Quick RTS following an injury is often representative of successful rehabilitation, but this approach can be detrimental due to the high recurrence rate of lateral ankle sprains (1). The purpose of this review was to summarize the evidence on lateral ankle ligament sprains with an emphasis on return to play.

Athletes have a higher risk of re-injury in the one year following a first-time lateral ankle sprain.
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Development and execution of criteria-based RTS testing is necessary to reduce the extent of residual ankle impairments and thereby reduce the risk of re-injury.

METHODS

This literature review was based on information extracted from a wide range of research studies. The review included data from over 60 references.

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