What Could Be Injured?With any ankle injury in sports, the injury could be either an ankle fracture (which is what most local news agencies were speculating after the game), an ankle sprain or muscle/tendon injuries. The muscle or tendon injuries can occur, but are not commonly described as ankle injuries, so we will discuss the other two.
- Ankle Fracture - With this injury, a bone (or multiple bones) are broken and can be either in regular position or displaced. A displaced fracture often requires surgery, and either will usually end a football season as bone takes 6-8 weeks to heal. Rarely should an individual with a true ankle fracture expect to play for at least 6 weeks, more commonly 8 - 10 weeks.
- Ankle Sprain - Depending on the extent of the sprain, this can also limit play during the season. With mild sprains, taping or bracing may allow continued play, but severe sprains will often require limited to no playing time for a period of recovery. In a high ankle sprain, or recurrent ankle sprains, surgery may be required to allow the quickest return to regular play.
In either case, physical therapy may be required and often is. In this case, release from physical therapy with the ability to perform sport specific activities will be required prior to full release for playing.
Remember that short periods of recovery will often allow a much longer period of playing than playing through pain and causing further injury or even disability.