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How to manage an ankle injury

Ankle injuries are one of the leading causes of absence from sport. Pro golfer Rory McIlroy is no exception with a recently ruptured ATFL ligament.

The ATFL ligament, on the outside of your ankle is one of the main stabilisers of the joint. Ankle injuries can be divided into three types depending on severity: grade one, two or in the case of McIlroy grade three.

Proper management of a rupture like this is important as the ankle plays a crucial part in generating power during a golf swing. In the case of grade threes surgery may be considered however a strong rehab programme has been shown to have equally good, if not better outcomes.

Initially, I would help the player to reduce pain, swelling and restore movement. The PRICE principal can be helpful here: Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate.

The key to returning to play and preventing further ankle injury is a dynamic and progressive rehab programme. This mainly involves strengthening the ankle, balance training and sports specific exercise.

The three key aspects of my rehab programme are regaining full range of motion, improvement of balance and agility work depending on the players sport of choice. Basic ways to achieve these are lunges, single leg work and plyometrics.