Well, we are rolling right along heading into week 6 of the NFL and I have seen so many reports of players suffering from ‘high ankle sprains’. Most recently, Sam Bradford of the St. Louis Rams, who will be OUT against the Packers this Sunday (I care because I need/want the Packers to lose so the Bears stand a fighting chance in the division!)
So what is a ‘high ankle sprain’? It’s actually something completely different than the traditional “I rolled my ankle stepping off a curb” sprain. It is a tear or separation of the interosseous (between bone) or syndesmotic ligament of the 2 leg bones (tibia and fibula). Normally the fibula (the outside ankle bone) sits a little bit behind and to the side of the tibia. It is held in place by three factors:
- Knee ligaments
- Ankle ligaments
- Interosseous ligament
If that IL is damaged, torn, or strained, it can cause instability in the ankle (not a good thing for anyone, let alone a professional athlete!) and perhaps further injury down the line (like weakening the ligaments around the ankle which could cause a more traditional ankle sprain).
Treatment consists of the PRICE therapy – Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. Most athletes are able to recover in 4-6 weeks if swelling allows them into regular shoe gear. Four-six weeks is just enough time for Sam Bradford to NOT play against Aaron Rodgers.