Among skiers and snowboarders, ankle sprains are a common injury. Indeed according to statistics, they are the most common type of soft tissue injury in UK hospitals.
Of course, not all ankle sprains are the same - they vary in intensity, with a mild or minor ankle sprain meaning that the ligament is stretched or partially torn, while in a more severe injury, the ligament is completely torn. Indeed, in the worst case scenario, the end of the bone to which the ligament is attached can even crack.
Typical symptoms include:
- A feeling of "giving way" as a ligament is torn or bone cracked
- A snapping or popping sound
- Pain around the area, which worsens if you move your foot
- Pain upon weight bearing
- Swelling and bruising
This injury usually occurs when your foot turns inwards, overstretching the ligaments on the outside of your ankle. In winter sports this can happen when you make a fast turn and catch an edge, or fall and have your skis or board get tangled up.
The full range of treatment will depend on the severity of the injury, but should begin with RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. This will be sufficient for minor injuries, but for more serious ones, you will need to consult a doctor or sport medicine specialist to get a comprehensive rehabilitation program.
This is essential in order to restore full strength and range of motion and avoid a recurrence of the injury.