Ankle injury is common in lacrosse as the sport requires quick, lateral cutting motions throughout the game. These injuries can occur when an athlete turns or pivots awkwardly while running, lands on another player’s foot, or steps in a divot in the field. Lateral ankle sprains, which are the more common, occur when the foot rolls inwards and medial ankle sprains occur when the foot rolls outward. There are ligaments on both sides of the ankle, thus when a player rolls their ankle, the ligaments get overstretched, sometimes past the breaking point of their tensile strength.
There are three degrees of sprains based on severity of injury: first, second and third degree, third degree being the most severe with more than 50% tearing or rupture of tissue. Once the extent of the injury is determined, the treatment can be more accurately prescribed. The higher the degree ankle sprain, the more healing time is needed. Rest, ice, compression and elevation immediately will help to control pain and inflammation. Physical therapy should occur as soon as possible to restore range of motion, flexibility, muscular strength/endurance and balance and proprioception. Once these are achieved return to functional and sport specific training can occur. It is common to develop chronic ankle instability if not cared for appropriately.