Ankle Sprains in Amateur Netballers

Don’t Let Ankle Sprains Keep You Down!

If you’re an amateur netball player in Australia, you’re likely no stranger to the occasional ankle sprain. They happen to the best of us, right? But what you might not know is that ankle sprains are not being treated as effectively as they could be, leading to a high recurrence of injury rate.

In this blog, we’ll explore why ankle sprains are so common among netballers and how to

ensure you’re giving your ankles the care they deserve.

It is estimated 20 million people across 70 countries participate in netball worldwide. The sport demands netballers to undertake high-intensity multi-directional efforts such as rapid direction changes, quick stops, and jumps within a strict space which make your ankles vulnerable to twists and sprains. Ankle sprains are the most frequently reported netball injury, which account for 40% of all netball injuries. But it’s not the initial injury that’s concerning – it’s the high rate of recurrence that should be a cause for alarm.

A recent study published in the journal of Science and Medicine in Sport highlights a troubling issue among netball players. Researchers have found that many players who suffer from ankle sprains are not receiving adequate treatment, leading to a whopping 30-40% recurrence rate. This means that if you’ve had an ankle sprain, you’re at a significant risk of re-injury.

So, what’s the takeaway for all you netball enthusiasts? 

The key message is clear: Treating ankle sprains properly is crucial. Here are some essential steps to ensure you’re on the right track:

1. Seek Professional Help: 

Don’t underestimate the importance of consulting with a healthcare professional, like a Physiotherapist or Sports Medicine specialist, when you injure your ankle. They can assess the severity of the sprain and recommend the appropriate treatment plan.

2. Follow Rehabilitation guidelines:

Once you’ve received a diagnosis, adhere to your rehabilitation plan diligently. Initially, this typically involves a combination of rest (rest from ankle use/risk of further injury), ice, compression, and elevation along with targeted exercises to reduce swelling and begin loading and strengthening of the ankle. Then, once the pain and swelling reduces you will start a more sports specific, higher impact program which will be tailored to your weaknesses and abilities.

3. Gradual return to play:

Rushing back into the game is a recipe for disaster. Gradually ease back into netball activities under the guidance of your healthcare provider to reduce the risk of reinjury.

4. Focus on preventative measures:

To reduce the risk of future sprains, work on your ankle strength, balance, and proprioception through exercises and drills.

As amateur Netballers, our passion for the game drives us to be on the court as much as

possible. However, it’s crucial to prioritise the proper treatment and care of the ankle to prevent recurring injuries. 
The research is clear, ankle sprains are not being treated as effectively as they could be, leading to a high rate of recurrence. By seeking professional help, following rehabilitation guidelines, and taking preventative measures, you can enjoy a safer and more injury-free netball experience. Remember, a healthy ankle is a happy ankle!

By Sarah Kitcher

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