Ankle sprain

flexmaxm-s A sprain is the stretching or tearing of a ligament.
A ligament is a fibrous structure that maintains the articulation (≠ the tendon which is one part of the muscular apparatus).

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Jocelyn-William LOUBRIAT
Francis HELIAS
 

Definition

A sprain is the stretching or tearing of a ligament.
A ligament is a fibrous structure that maintains the articulation (≠ the tendon which is one part of the muscular apparatus).
The ankle is the joint most likely to suffer a sprain when doing sport.

The sprain is an accident with immediate pain and instant functional inability. The ankle tends to swell.
The pain and functional inability will depend on the importance of the lesion.

After-effects of articular instabilities may occur.


Mechanism of the lesion

Different types of sprains can occur in the ankle:

The most common are inversion injuries (when you “twist” your ankle outwards) (fig 1),
Less common are eversion sprains (the ankle “twisted” inwards) (fig 2),
And the sprains in maximum dorsi flexion (fig 3).


inversm

eversionm

flexmaxm

Fig 1: Ankle
inversion sprain
Fig 2: Ankle eversion sprain
Fig 3: Ankle sprain in
maximum dorsi flexion

Sprains occur during falls, in particular when bouldering, on irregular grounds (roots, stones, slopes) or half on a crash pad… The risk should not be underestimated, especially when climbing along vertical walls or slabs

Also, be careful when jogging on an irregular ground.

Prevention

Technique correction:
Favour de-escalation to systematic jumps when coming down from blocks.
The crash pad is an essential tool to preserve your ankles, but it does not replace spotting.

Correction of the physical preparation:
A good warm up and properly prepared sensory receptors thanks to active stretching techniques can prevent injuries when falling.


Treatment

Immediate ice treatment and compressive bandaging (from the toe up to the calf).
If you are unable to make 2 steps, go to the emergency room to check if there is no fracture.
Immobilise with a removable splint (like Aircast®) for 15 to 21 days.
Kinesitherapy is essential to avoid risks of recurrence. Reeducation too often neglected after a “small sprain” can prevent a chronic condition

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