Are you one of those people who seems to be forever spraining their ankle?

To some extent, ankle sprains are part and parcel of being active.

But if it’s happening again and again, here’s what may be going on – and how you can reduce your risk of recurrent ankle sprain.

One sprain can lead to another… and another

A large review of ankle sprain studies in the journal Sports Medicine found most people who actively play sport or train can expect to have a fairly low incidence of ankle sprain per 1,000 hours of training time. But it also said:

Females were at a higher risk of sustaining an ankle sprain compared with males and children compared with adolescents and adults, with indoor and court sports the highest risk activity.

The most frequent type of ankle sprain occurs if the ligaments on the outside of the ankle are stretched or torn when the joint moves beyond the normal range of movement. This is known as an inversion or lateral ankle sprain.

Ankle Sprain
Skeleton and bones – Ankle sprain (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Strong evidence from studies suggests once people sprain their ankle, they are more likely to re-sprain it. As one review of the evidence put it:

a history of lateral ankle sprain is known to disrupt the structural integrity of the ligaments and sensorimotor function, likely impairing an individual’s ability to avoid injurious situations.