An ankle sprain is the most common injury to the ankle. Depending on the severity of the sprain, one or more of the ligaments that support the ankle can stretch, partially tear or rupture. Symptoms include swelling, bruising and pain. If the ligament ruptures, a popping sound may be heard.
It is more likely to impede the game if a golfer has an ankle sprain in the back foot of their golf stance, as forces drive off that foot during contact and swing through.
The front foot moves from a rolled in position to a rolled outward position as the golfer moves from the backswing through the power phase. Too much weight on the front foot during the follow through may result in an ankle sprain or instability, as well as reduced power and distance.
When golfers with ankle sprains or a history of ankle sprains address the ball on varying degrees of sloping surfaces, including sand, it may be more difficult to maintain balance and even weight distribution on both of their feet. In addition, nonsupportive footwear can slide out from underneath a golfer as he or she swings, causing a loss of balance or strain within the ankle.
If these problems are not addressed and the ankle becomes painful to stand on, a golfer is likely to put more pressure on other areas of the body to compensate. This can lead to additional pain in the knees, hips or spine.
Modifications on the golf course to prevent an ankle sprain
- Use a form of ankle bracing or taping to keep the foot and ankle more stable if the golfer has a history of ankle sprains.
- Wearing shoes that can be tied above the ankle will provide additional support.
- Be sure the golfer's foot makes flat solid contact with the ground when hitting off uneven terrain by widening or shortening his or her stance.