High Ankle Sprain FAQ’s
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It is possible to walk on a Grade one High Ankle Sprain within the first few hours as there is minimal disruption to the ankle joint. For a Grade two ankle sprain, it may be too painful to walk in the first 2-5 days, and focusing on resting, elevation and static cycling in this early phase is recommended before commencing short walks.
A grade 3 ankle sprain usually is too painful and unstable to walk on. In this instance, a walker boot is normally required to allow you to walk. Even so, walker boots are designed for short walking distances, and you may need crutches in addition to the boot in severe cases.
A 10-year study of NCAA Basketball Collegiate athletes by Tummala et al., 2019, found that the most common injury is to the lateral ankle ligaments accounting for 83.5% of injuries in Females and 80% in males, and approximately 7% of those were High Ankle Sprains. The Guard Position had the highest number of injuries occur, while rebounding was the most common source of injury.
In most cases, you can return to play within a few days with a Grade one ankle sprain. We recommend wearing a lace-up ankle brace to provide extra stability to your ankle. A grade 1-2 high ankle sprain may require Physical Therapy and a period of rest from basketball for 2-4 weeks.
Recovery time from High Ankle Sprains in the NBA is slightly faster than in the average population. This is not due to ligaments healing quicker than others but to them receiving state-of-the-art treatment to optimise their recovery and reduce the risk of secondary complications that can often occur with High Ankle Sprains.
A study by Thomas and Low, 2014, compared the impact of high-top shoes, low-cut shoes and ankle braces on the inversion of the ankle, which is the highest risk factor for ankle sprains when performing V-cut movements. They concluded that an ankle brace effectively reduces ankle inversion in cutting movements.
At the same time, there was no significant difference in ankle inversion when wearing a high cut vs a low cut trainer. One can conclude from this research which is in contrast to most previous studies on the topic, that high-top shoes do not reduce the risk of ankle sprains.
We do not recommend running while you have a high ankle sprain, as this can disrupt the injury’s healing stages and slow your recovery.
We recommend following the guidance of a Physical Therapist to guide you through a rehabilitation process. This process usually begins with a range of motion exercises and strengthening exercises and progresses onto more dynamic movements such as hopping and skipping before returning to running.
It is recommended to begin swimming as soon as possible with a High Ankle Sprain as it is highly effective for reducing swelling within the ankle joint and improving the range of motion. Grade one and two ankle sprains can typically begin swimming within the first week of the injury. In contrast, a Grade three ankle sprain may need approval following a Physical Therapy assessment before starting to swim.
A study by Miller et al., 2012 based on Collegiate Footballers found that the average return to play time for Grade one ankle sprains was 13-14 days if the injury was clinically diagnosed by a Physical Therapist and taken through a standard rehabilitation protocol. Grade two high ankle sprains can typically return to football within 6-8 weeks, while a grade three injury can take 3-6 months.