Lateral ankle ligament tears are one of the more common acute injuries we find across the winter sports. The lateral ligaments are strong but due to the high amounts of force we can create through sprinting and collisions, the sudden almost instantaneous effort can cause injuries to happen. Unfortunately the ligaments will almost always be somewhat weaker as a result of these injuries and this is where strapping comes into play.
Ankle strapping is usually used as almost an accessory ankle support to prevent the likelihood of further ankle injury. It has been shown to cause close to a 50% reduction in the likelihood of future ankle injuries. Unfortunately, there is no clear evidence to suggest that strapping your ankle if you have NOT had a previous ankle injury is beneficial. In both circumstances, comfort also needs to be taken into account but for the majority of people, strapping your ankle for at least 3 months post return to sport is a good idea.
In the long run, it’s always far more important and beneficial to focus on your ankle rehab as a way of reducing the likelihood of injury re-occurrence. It can only complement the use of strapping and will also help improve performance and reduce the chances of injury elsewhere in the body. Strapping tape only has so much durability and can’t be expected to overpower the forces created in large collisions and jumping and landing on one foot. But by developing the coordination, strength and balance in our lower limbs we can effectively manage those impacts.