Soccer injuries: Ankle pain

The ankle pain that affects soccer players usually occurs after sustaining a sprain which is responsible for most of the injuries. It is important to note that injuries to the ankle are quite common among young players. Always remember that pain is how the body notes down strain to the ligaments of the ankle. As for fractures to the ankles, these injuries are less common.

Close look on the ankle

The ankle joint is comprised of the ends of the fibula and tibia, talus and two shin bones. There is a series of ligaments that strikingly resemble dense rubber bands that holds the bones together.

An ankle sprain involves stretching or partial or full tearing of the ligaments. The ankle joint is responsible for pointing up the toes which is called dorsiflexion and downwards in plantar flexion. These movements are vital for a strong soccer kick. Right beneath the ankle joint is the ball-and-socket joint that enables inward and outward movement. Most cases of ankle sprains during soccer often occur when the ankle and foot roll inwards.


An ankle sprain involves stretching or partial or full tearing of the ligaments.

Potential risk factors

The increasing cases of ankle injuries that occur due to poor tackling led to changes in the game such as penalizing unsafe tackles. An illegal tackle involves contact with the player before the ball and hitting the player with a raised upper leg after contact with the ball using the lower leg.

Due to the higher risk for ankle injuries on wet or uneven surfaces, the goal area during corner kicks can also put an individual at risk for injuries. It is recommended for soccer players to be extra careful during corner-kick practices to avoid any injuries.

What are other possible causes?

It is important to note that there are also other possible causes of ankle pain while playing the sport. During strong soccer kicks, the ankle joint is in a position of full extension or plantar flexion. In this position, the perimeters of the tibia and talus can hit each other as well as during full push-off movement while running.

Constant trauma to the joint can also cause “footballer’s ankle” in which bony growths develop on the tibia and talus bones inside the joint. The bony growths require surgical removal.

Management of ankle sprains

The ankle pain due to a sprained ankle can be managed using the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). The player should be sidelined right away so that the injured area is allowed to rest.

You have to initially apply an ice pack over the injured area but not directly. Make sure that you will wrap the ice pack using a clean cloth or towel and place over the ankle. Compress the ankle using an elastic tape and elevate higher than the level of the heart to prevent blood from accumulating in the ankle. The mild sprains require overnight treatment while moderate to severe sprains require splinting or casts for 2-3 weeks.


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