Category: Team Trainer
NOTE: This is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Your ankles can take quite a beating during the soccer season. The majority of foot and ankle injuries are a result of direct player-to-player contact, usually from a slide tackle or friendly cleat stomp. Ankle sprains are one of the most common of these injuries.
They are usually a result of the love-taps mentioned above or occur during cutting maneuvers when momentum and pointed positioning of ones foot add up to rolling of the ankle (also known as an inversion sprain). Players who have a history of ankle sprains are also at greater risk for reoccurrence of such injury.
Whatever the case may be, there are several steps you can take immediately following injury that will play a big role in healing and recovery. P.R.I.C.E. is an acronym used to remember the well-established protocol used to address acute sprains. It stands for the following:
Provide some protection to your ankle immediately following the injury. This can come in the form of an air cast provided by a trainer or some type of splinting or wrapping with an ACE bandage.
Unless it’s the last game of the World Cup or the gold medal match of the Olympics, get off the field! Trying to play on a sprained ankle is the easiest way to cause more damage and exacerbate a small injury into a season-ending one. Try to rest the involved ankle for at least 72 hours.
Ice that baby up so it doesn’t blow up to the size of the ball rolling next to you. 10 to 15 minutes will do fine. Use it often to decrease inflammation.
Again, a good ‘ol ACE bandage can be used to minimize the swelling and also provide some of the protection discussed earlier to that joint in giving it stability and preventing excessive motion.
Elevating your leg also helps reduce swelling and assists in returning that fluid back into your body’s circulation versus pooling in your ankle/foot. If possible, lye on your back and elevate your leg above chest level whenever possible.
All of the above will play a great role in addressing MILD ankle sprains, but should you have moderate to severe pain after the incident, seek professional assistance immediately. If an athletic trainer, physical therapist or team doctor is not available, have someone take you to the emergency room for the appropriate medical care you need.
Receiving some rehab after the injury is also well advised and can pay big dividends in returning function and maximizing your recovery. As a side note, if you think you’ve really done a number on your ankle at the time of injury, keep your gear on (i.e. cleats and shin pads). That way, swelling stays at bay until a medical professional takes a look at it.