Antertior talofibular sprain or the ATFL sprain.

Antertior talofibular sprain or the ATFL sprain.

Ashley Watson is Sports Therapy BSc International Athlete. If you’d like more information on an injury or treatment please contact him at https://www klicka här för att undersö

Ash Watson

Here you will learn the following:

  • What is an ATFL sprain and why is it important to prevent this injury
  • The importance of strong ankle
  • How to self-manage an ATFL injury and any other ankle injury
  • Easy ankle exercises that you should be doing as an footballer

What is an ATFL sprain?

  • An ATFL sprain is a common ankle musculoskeletal injury in which the ligament is partially or completely torn due to sudden stretching
  • The ATFL ankle sprain is graded in the form of 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree sprains

1st degree = weight bearing hurts, although the ankle joint is functional with some swelling (1-2 weeks recovery)

2nd degree = Weight bearing is very painful, swollen ankle and stiffness (2 – 3 weeks recovery)

3rd degree = Joint function lost, severe bruising (3-4 weeks recovery)

How is this caused?

  • An ATFL sprain in normally caused due to excessive inversion and plantar-flexion of the ankle. (rolling over your ankle)
  • Impact via tackles

How do I self-manage an ankle sprain?

  • For the first stage of healing the aims are reduce swelling, eliminate pain and use the ankle as much as possible without pain. You could do this via:

Compression (preferable with athlete tape)

Ice pack (10 minutes no longer every couple hours)

Elevation (keep for foot above your heart to aid the swelling to go down)

Pain free active movements (all movements you can do with your ankle not hurting will speed up the healing process)

Calf stretches if pain free (hold for 15 seconds)

How do I prevent ATFL and other ankle sprains?

Strength and stability in the ankle is the best way to avoid such injuries. Proprioception is one of the most important aspects of ankle rehabilitation, this is the process of teaching the ankle to be more aware of the body’s position which will prevent the ankle to be prone to roll over again.  These are normally trained by balance exercises.

This simple circuit will increase the ankle strength and stability:

  • Double heel raise x 15
  • Walking heel raises x20 (10 on each foot)
  • Controlled lunges x 12
  • Standing on one leg turning head side to side x 30 secs each leg
  • Standing on one leg throwing a tennis ball against a wall and catching it x 20 seconds each leg

Go through this circuit 3 times, NO EXCUSES!

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