Although Ronaldo sustained an ankle injury during El Clasico, it has luckily been reported as a minor sprain. However, with the upcoming Champions League final against Liverpool his fitness is still of great concern since it’s clear Los Blancos just aren’t the same without him at 100%.
Here’s everything you need to know about minor ankle sprains in 1 minute.
The ankle is stabilised by two groups of ligaments complexes, one medially and one laterally.
Most ankle injuries occur at the lateral ligament complex which comprises of three ligaments: the ATFL, CFL and PTFL.
The ability to bear weight, along with the degree of swelling and bruising are indicators of the severity of the injury.
Clinical examination by a doctor might not be very accurate in the acute setting due to the overwhelming pain and swelling; thus, most athletes will undergo an X-ray/MRI to determine the severity of the injury and rule out important pathologies such as fractures and articular cartilage injuries.
Grading is simple:
- 1. Ligament sprain
- 2. Partial ligament tear
- 3. Complete ligament tear
For Grade 1 injuries, initial management follows the standard RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) regime.
Treatment for these uncomplicated minor ligament sprains consists of a short period of physiotherapy (active range of motion exercises, proprioceptive training, peroneal muscle strengthening and early weight bearing), and a return to play can be expected at around two weeks.
Although athletes can resume play, they are suggested to use a brace or tape for up to one year after the initial trauma as it will help decrease the risk of re-injury.
Most athletes will do well, but 10% might develop chronic instability which may be classified into functional or mechanical instability.
Functional instability, grossly simplified, is the feeling of ‘giving way’ while stress radiographs might show a relatively stable joint. These patients should benefit from a prolonged trial of physiotherapy.
On the other hand, athletes with chronic mechanically unstable ankles might have better function after undergoing surgical reconstruction.
If you find yourself with chronic unrelenting pain/swelling/instability/recurrent ankle sprains, it would be wise to seek early medical attention.