Background: Ankle and foot injuries are common in professional soccer players, but the relation among diagnosis, severity and time lost from play is not well known.
Objective: The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship among diagnosis, injury severity and time lost to play of professional soccer players with severe ankle and foot injuries with reviewing the recent literature.
Design: Retrospective descriptive study.
Patients and methods: Collected data of 66 players with severe ankle and foot injuries were included in the study. Type of injury, diagnosis, treatment, injury severity and finally, time lost from play were evaluated from the medical records. Injury severity ('severe' if >28 days, 'moderate' if between 8 and 28 days) and time lost from play were calculated from medical records and by telephone interviews with the players.
Results: Most injuries (n=20, 32%) occurred during player-to-player contact. The most common diagnosis was ankle sprain (30.3%) with anterior talofibular ligament injury. Most (55%) hindfoot injuries were Achilles tendinopathy with or without rupture. Treatment was surgical in 23 patients (35%). The mean time lost from play for players with severe foot and ankle injuries was 61 days (range 21-240 days); after Achilles tendon ruptures, the mean time lost was 180 days. Injury severity was severe (>28 days lost from play) in 64% patients and moderate (8-28 days lost from play) in 36% patients.
Conclusion: Time lost to play can dramatically increase by the presence of severe ankle and foot injuries. Serious ankle and foot injuries in this study resulted in players being out of professional competition for about 2 months.