Study finds long-term impact of ankle sprains in young athletes

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ROSEMONT – According to the results of a recent study published in Foot & Ankle International, the official journal of the American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society, people who have suffered a sprained ankle while playing sports among young people have had more pain and symptoms three to 15 years later, including poor function, reduced participation in sport, poor balance, and fear of pain, compared to uninjured participants.

This study highlights the need to promote the prevention of ankle sprains in young athletes.

“A sprained ankle is the most common injury in sports and recreation among young people,” said Oluwatoyosi Owoeye, assistant professor in the Department of Physiotherapy and Athletic Training at the University of Saint Louis, as well as professor Assistant Assistant at the Sports Injury Prevention Research Center at the University of Saint-Louis. University of Calgary, who is the lead author of the study. “A sprained ankle is often seen as a ‘simple’ injury that shouldn’t cause concern, but our study shows that it can have negative health consequences in the medium to long term.”

The researchers recruited a total of 86 participants for the study. The group was made up of 77% women with an average age of 23 years. Of the total participants, 50 had sprained their ankles within a median of eight years, while the remaining 36 were unscathed control participants of similar age, gender and athletic exposure. The research team collected data through outcome scores for self-reported feet and ankles, body mass index measurements, and tests to assess physical activity, athletic identity, fear of pain, strength, balance and function.

3 to 15 years after the ankle sprain, injured participants had significantly more severe symptoms by approximately 21% and an ankle-related quality of life 16% lower, compared to controls.

Owoeye notes that the differences between the injured and control groups are substantial and that more research is needed. “Little is currently known about the prevention of post-sprain ankle health problems, so this study is very useful in advancing this area of ​​investigation. Our future goal is to deepen this and develop strategies for it. secondary prevention to alleviate the long-term consequences of ankle sprains. “

To protect young athletes from ankle sprains, Owoeye recommends adopting neuromuscular training programs (structured warm-up exercise programs) to prevent ankle sprains from occurring in the first place, as well as pre-sport bandages and corsets to prevent ankle sprains from recurring.

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