Ankle ligament injury risk factors: a prospective study of college athletes

J Orthop Res. 2001 Mar;19(2):213-20. doi: 10.1016/S0736-0266(00)90004-4.


Over two million individuals suffer ankle ligament trauma each year in the United States, more than half of these injuries are severe ligament sprains; however, very little is known about the factors that predispose individuals to these injuries. The purpose of this study was to determine the risk factors associated with ankle injury. We performed a prospective study of 118 Division I collegiate athletes who participated in soccer, lacrosse, or field hockey. Prior to the start of the athletic season, potential ankle injury risk factors were measured, subjects were monitored during the athletic season, and injuries documented. The number of ankle injuries per 1,000 person-days of exposure to sports was 1.6 for the men and 2.2 for the women. There were 13 injuries among the 68 women (19%) and seven injuries among the 50 men (13%), but these proportions were not significantly different. Women who played soccer had a higher incidence of ankle injury than those who played field hockey or lacrosse. Among men, there was no relationship between type of sport and incidence of injury. Factors associated with ankle ligament injury differ for men relative to women. Women with increased tibial varum and calcaneal eversion range of motion are at greater risk of suffering ankle ligament trauma, while men with increased talar tilt are at greater risk. Generalized joint laxity, strength, postural stability, and muscle reaction time were unrelated to injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle / physiology
  • Ankle Injuries / epidemiology
  • Ankle Injuries / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Ligaments, Articular / injuries*
  • Male
  • Posture
  • Prospective Studies
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sports*