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Sprained playing soccer! Ligament damage

Hello, my name is Sato and I run J-CLINIC, a physiotherapy and acupuncture clinic in Bangkok.

Today, I’m going to talk about N, an 11-year-old boy who sprained his ankle playing soccer.

Ankle sprains are scarier than you think

Many people who’ve sprained their ankles say they thought they could just put a poultice on it and it would heal. But if the ankle has been twisted hard, the ankle ligaments may be torn or partially damaged.

A picture of sprain

Torn or damaged ligaments need to be treated early. Without treatment, the ankle joint may not return to its healthy state and remain unstable.



N sprained his foot while landing from a jumping header

When jumping to head the ball during a practice soccer game, N collided with an opponent. He lost his balance and landed hard on a twisted left foot.

N’s symptoms


J-CLINIC’s diagnosis

N injured the anterior talofibular ligament from twisting his foot strongly inward when landing from a jump.

Treatment to relieve pain and repair tissue

N wanted to participate in a soccer tournament in one month’s time, so we aimed for an early recovery with treatment based on electrotherapy.


1.Microcurrent therapy to repair the tissue (weak-current therapy)

The electric current flowing through the human body is called the “biological current.” Microcurrent therapy uses a weak electric current similar to the biological current and is effective in repairing tissues and enabling early recovery from injuries and pain. It’s commonly used in the sports world.


2.Ultrasound/high-voltage therapy to relieve pain

Pain is effectively relieved through combined use of (1) high-voltage electricity to loosen tension in the superficial muscles and (2) ultrasound to relax the deeper muscles that can’t be reached by hand. The combination therapy also repairs cells and is one of the most popular forms of care used by professional athletes.


Ultrasound/high-voltage therapy


In addition to electrotherapy, we used massage to loosen the tension in N’s muscles around the ankle. We also immobilized his ankle with taping and support.


N competed in the soccer tournament while undergoing treatment

N came to the clinic every day for the first four days, and by the fourth day, he recovered enough to be able to walk normally.
After the pain eased, N underwent rehab to increase his range of motion in the joints that had stiffened from been immobilized. He also did strength training targeting those muscles weakened by the injury.


Two weeks later, he was jogging and a month later, N was able to participate in the soccer tournament as he had hoped.

Causes of N’s left ankle sprain

Some root issues made N’s injury more likely:


In the later stages of treatment, we taught N exercises and stretches to strengthen those muscles and improve his flexibility to prevent a recurrence. We also adjusted the balance of his body.


Ankle sprains: Common among athletes

In sports such as basketball, soccer, and gymnastics, ankle injuries are said to be the second most common injury after knee injuries.



If you take sprains lightly and don’t get proper treatment and rehabilitation, you may be left with pain or ankle instability. Ankle pain may also strain other parts of your body, which may then show up as knee, hip, or back pain. These will keep you from performing at your best.


RICE procedure, then treatment

Initial treatment of a sprain is very important.

A illustration of the RICE procedure

The RICE procedure is a good first-aid treatment for sprains.


The longer it takes to get proper treatment, the slower the sprain will heal and the longer the treatment will take. So do see a medical professional as soon as possible!


日本語訳はこちら→ ジャンピングヘッドの着地時に捻挫?靭帯損傷!
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