Ankle Inversion Injury- A First Hand Experience. PART ONE

On Wednesday 31st May, Dave, of Anna Barnsley Physiotherapy, sustained an inversion injury to his ankle. The following is an account of his experience, from injury to early management and rehab, and the 'psychosocial' effect of experiencing Injury from 'the other side'....



It was the opening 5 minutes of our weekly football game.  We were playing top of the league, and therefore tempers were a little bit raised, but all within the realms of sportsmanship. I went to “gently nudge” someone off the ball, by leaning my body weight into them, I must have gone into the tackle with more ferocity than I’d thought, as the second I made contact with the player he fell, and as he did so his legs went either side of my left leg just as all my body weight was going through the one leg and his weight forced the ankle to roll over. 

I couldn’t see what exactly happened as I hadn’t expected the opponent to fall under the challenge, but what I do remember is feeling a definite SNAP… which was a feeling I have never experienced before.  Having played a lot of sport for my whole life so far, I’ve picked up my fair share of injuries and niggle’s, but I’ve never felt something physically tear.  And it surprised me because when I felt the tear, I didn’t actually feel any pain with the sensation, but I did get a shoot of pins and needles that shot down to my little toe, for a split second then it was gone.  As my momentum took me forwards it wasn’t until my first weight bearing step that the pain came, and it wasn’t really sharp but a very deep feeling ache at the front of the ankle, with that pain came a feeling within the whole foot as if I’d bashed my “funny bone”.

Although the pain wasn’t sharp it was strong enough to mean I couldn’t actually put my weight though it, as I tried to take a few steps the pain seemed to be increasing rather than dissipating, and it was at this point I thought that I’d actually done something quite serious that I wasn’t going to be able to run off.  I sat down on the turf, and my first though, being a physio, was “god I’ve done a grade III tear / rupture of ATFL”, (Anterior Talo-Fibular Ligament-ed) having never felt that snap / tear before.  I looked at my ankle and the anterior part of my ankle was instantly swollen.  I knew this wasn’t a good sign and there must be fairly substantial ligament damage to warrant such instant swelling.

As I tried to stand I had instant pain through my entire ankle joint now.  My Physio brain at this point was running wild with what that tearing sensation could be….. Peroneus Longus avulsion sprang to mind…. Try and evert…….  I can………. Thank god! hopefully no avulsion.  I then tried just moving it up and down and as the swelling was increasing by the minute this became more and more difficult.  Extending my toes was extremely painful too. 

I was fairly convinced the snapping feeling I felt wasn’t a bone breaking, although I have never broken a bone before I imagine it being a different kind of pain to one deep achiness I was feeling, I imagine a bone breaking being very sharp instant pain with the snapping feeling, rather than what I experienced.  But as I couldn’t really put my weight through it I thought I would air on the side of caution and go to A&E to rule one out.

I was passed from queue to queue for the next 4 hours and by the time I got the x-ray the ankle had really swollen on the lateral side, and even come round medial.  I finally got my x-ray done, and there was no break! 

It was so late when I got home from A&E I didn’t ice the ankle but slept with it in an elevated position, doing this had an instant improvement on the pain.  If I sat for any length of time with the ankle on the floor, it would become very achy.