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First-Time Ankle Sprains in Athletes

Posted on: 11/30/1999
What's the risk of first-time ankle injury for athletes? Are women more likely to sprain their ankles compared to men? Are there more injuries in high school athletes compared to college athletes? Which sport has the most ankle sprains? These are the questions researchers at the University of Vermont tried to answer in this study.

Over 900 high school and college athletes were included. Athletes in basketball, soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey were studied over a period of four years.

The authors report a rate of less than one ankle sprain per 1000 days of exposure to sport. This was less than expected. The risk of an ankle sprain was slightly higher in women compared to men. There was no difference between high school and college athletes. Basketball was the sport with the greatest number of injuries, especially for women.

This study showed that the risk of ankle injury depends on the sport for women. The same is not true for men. Just as many injuries occurred during practice as during the games. The authors suggest any steps taken to reduce ankle injuries should be used at all athletic events.

Bruce D. Beynnon, PhD, et al. First-Time Inversion Ankle Ligament Trauma. The Effects of Sex, Level of Competition, and Sport on the Incidence of Injury. In American Journal of Sports Medicine. October 2005. Vol. 33. No. 10. Pp. 1485-1491.

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