The long-term impact of ankle sprains on young athletes


Rosemont, Ill., December 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – According to the results of a recent study published in Foot & Ankle International (FAI), the official journal of the American Society of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics (AOFAS), people who have undergone ankle sprain while playing youth sports, had more pain and symptoms 3 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.

“Ankle sprain is the most common injury in sports and recreation among young people,” said Oluwatoyosi Owoeye, PhD, PT, assistant professor in the department of physiotherapy and athletic training at the University of Saint Louis, adjunct assistant professor in the Sports Injury Prevention Research Center at the University of Calgary and 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 8 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.

Dr 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, Dr. Owoeye recommends adopting neuromuscular training programs (structured warm-up exercise programs) to prevent ankle sprains from occurring in the first place, as well. than bandages and pre-athletic devices to prevent ankle sprains from recurring.

The study, Health Outcomes 3 to 15 Years After a Sprained Ankle in Youth Sport: What Future? appears in the August 2021 issue of Foot & Ankle International, the official journal of American Society of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics (AOFAS). FAI is published by SAGE Journals.

About Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Surgeons

Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Surgeons are physicians (MD and DO) who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries of the foot and ankle. Their education and training consists of four years of medical school, five years of postgraduate residency, and one year of the Specialty Surgical Training Fellowship. These specialists care for patients of all ages, perform reconstructive surgeries for deformities and arthritis, treat sports injuries, and manage trauma to the foot and ankle.


The American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) mobilizes our vibrant community of orthopedic foot and ankle surgeons to improve patient care through education, research and advocacy. As the world’s leading foot and ankle care organization, AOFAS offers exceptional continuing education events and resources, funds and promotes innovative research, and broadens patients’ understanding of foot and disease conditions and treatments. ankle. By emphasizing collaboration and excellence, AOFAS inspires ever increasing levels of professional performance leading to better patient outcomes. For more information, visit the American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society online at

Christine Petrucci
American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS)
[email protected]

Comments are closed.