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Soccer Players Suffer More Sprains When Ankles not Equally Strong

Soccer Players Suffer More Sprains When Ankles not Equally Strong

(epharmanews)- According to a new Greek study, Professional soccer players tend to suffer from more ankle sprains when one foot is stronger than the other. Ankle sprains usually result in imbalance and pain that may last for months or even years in some cases according to sports medicine specialists.

When the ankle is forced to move out of its normal position, forcing one or more of the ligaments surrounding and stabilizing the bones out of its usual range of motion and causing the ligament to stretch or tear, a sprain will occur.

Although several studies have tried to explore the reasons behind athletes spraining their ankles, very few have concentrated on soccer players, explained George Vagenas, PhD, from the University of Athens and lead researcher.

Vagenas and colleagues tested ankle strength and ability, before the season started, in 100 professional players from four professional soccer teams in Greece.  They were monitored for ten months for injuries while playing.

Researchers found that seventeen players suffered at least one non-contact sprain. Players who had one ankle significantly stronger than the other were nine times more likely to suffer ankle sprains compared to players with similar ankle strength.  These findings were published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

The authors explained that a player’s two sets of ankle muscles should respond with similar levels of strength when he lands from a jump, that way the impact will be absorbed evenly otherwise there is a high risk of spraining an ankle.

“Functional strength asymmetries of the ankle flexors and increased body mass index and body weight raise the propensity for ankle sprains in professional soccer players.” Vagenas wrote.

“Age and asymmetries in ankle laxity are potential factors worth revisiting, as there was an indication for younger players and players with ankle instability to be at higher risk for ankle injury. Proper preseason evaluation may improve prevention strategies for this type of injury in soccer.”

The authors suggest that a pre-season assessment for angle strength should be conducted on all soccer players, whether professional or amateurs. A good pre-season assessment can improve strategies to prevent this type of injuries.

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Prepared by: Nessrin Biram

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