Volleyball Ankle Sprains

The Most Under-Treated Injury In Youth Volleyball



Part 1; Understanding The Acute Ankle Injury

Guest Post By: Sam Pedlow- MPT, BPHED, BScH, Team Canada Beach Volleyball Player

Chances are if you have played volleyball for longer than a few competitive seasons, you or one of your teammates has suffered an ankle injury. As a Registered Physiotherapist ankle injuries are a common problem I see in clinical practice.  Both coaches and competitors mistakenly perceive a “sprained ankle” as a relatively benign injury. This, coupled with pressures to return to play in competitive sport following an injury, often results in youth athletes insufficiently addressing the severity of ankle injuries in favour of return to competition.  However the delayed consequences and unforeseen complications that can result from inadequate management and rehabilitation of an ankle injury make guidance by a certified medical professional invaluable to your athletic career.

Before we learn how to address and prevent ankle injuries we first must have a basic understanding of them. “Ankle sprains” are typically described as falling into one of three categories based on the mechanism of injury; inversion, eversion and a high ankle sprain. Inversion injures are the most common and occur when the foot turns inwards and the ankle rolls outwards resulting in the stretching or tearing of the lateral ligaments of the ankle. Although the eversion and high ankle sprain are possible, a volleyball athlete is far less likely to sustain one of these two injuries versus the inversion injury.


A depiction of the lateral ligaments of the ankle:  An inversion sprain typically involves the Anterior Talofibular Ligament. As the severity of the sprain increases the likelihood more ligamentous structures are affected also increases (Dubin et al, 2011).

A sprain can be graded based on the severity of injury. A Grade I sprain is considered minor and involves a mild stretching of the ligaments without rupture of the ligaments or joint instability.  Grade II sprain is considered moderate and involves a partial rupture of the ligaments with moderate instability. This instability typically makes weight bearing difficult. A Grade III sprain is considered severe and involves a complete ligament rupture and marked pain, swelling, and pain. Grade III sprains typically involve marked impairment of function coupled with instability (Petersen et al, 2013).  Athletes who have experienced a Grade I or II sprain are those who typically attempt to self manage, whereas a Grade III often results in outside consultation and a referral to a physiotherapist.

Whether you suffer a Grade I a Grade III or I sprain it is important to seek the guidance of a certified medical professional.  In a generation where injuries go widely unreported due to pressures to compete you may be thinking you can manage on your own. However residual effects of the initial injury may leave the athlete mechanical instability, reduced functional ability due to degenerative changes, and an increased likelihood of re injury are among the potential consequences of a mismanaged ankle injury.

If you have suffered a recent ankle injury, are an individual who continually rolls their ankle, or has persistent symptoms following an ankle injury do not hesitate to contact me (Pedlow.samuel@gmail.com or call (705) 627-3229). The road to recovery starts with you!

In parts 2 and 3 you will learn how to prevent ankle sprains and how to rehab an already injured ankle.  Subscribe below to get parts 2 and 3 sent to your email address within a few days and also get instant access to 5 exercises that will keep your shoulders strong and healthy. Reid’s Workouts helps educate the volleyball community on how to train to be high performance volleyball athlete.



We respect your email privacy