Ankle sprains can be a painful and frustrating injury for athletes at any level. However, with the help of sports chiropractors, athletes can recover faster and get back in the game. Sports chiropractors specialize in the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, including ankle sprains. They can offer a variety of treatments to help athletes recover quickly and safely from their injuries. Keep reading to learn how sports chiropractor ankle sprain treatment can improve your healing process and overall athletic performance.

Key takeaways

  • Chiropractic care plays a crucial role in the treatment of ankle sprains in athletes by addressing the cause of the injury and promoting faster healing.
  • Sports chiropractors assess and treat ankle sprains using personalized techniques, including joint manipulation, extremity adjustments, and complementary therapies such as dry needling or manual therapy
  • Chiropractic care also focuses on long-term recovery through injury prevention, rehabilitation exercises, and returning athletes to optimal performance levels.
  • Professional athletes, as well as recreational athletes, can benefit from seeking chiropractic.

Understanding Ankle Sprains in the Sports World

Common causes of ankle sprains in sports

Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments in the ankle joint are stretched or torn due to sudden twisting or impact. They are common in sports that involve jumping, running, and frequent changes in direction, such as basketball, soccer, and tennis.

Types of ankle sprains

There are two primary types of ankle sprains:

  1. Inversion ankle sprain: This occurs when the foot rolls inward, causing the ankle to turn and stretch or damage the ligaments on the outside of the ankle joint. Inversion sprains are the most common type.
  2. Eversion ankle sprain: This happens when the foot rolls outward, causing the ankle to bend and injure the ligaments on the inside of the joint. They are less common than inversion sprains.

Ankle injuries can significantly impact an athlete's performance and often lead to chronic issues if not properly treated.

Anatomy of the Ankle Joint

To understand how chiropractic care can help with ankle sprains, it's essential to know the anatomy of the ankle joint.

Lateral ankle joint ligaments

The lateral (outside) part of the ankle joint has three main ligaments: the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL), and the posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL). These ligaments work together to provide stability and prevent excessive movement in the joint.

Anterior and posterior tibiofibular ligaments

The front (anterior) and back (posterior) tibiofibular ligaments connect the two lower leg bones, the fibula and the tibia. These ligaments support the ankle joint and are also involved in the stability of the lower leg.

Fibula, tibia, and talus bones

The fibula and tibia form the lower leg, with the talus bone fitting snugly between them, creating the primary ankle joint. These bones work together to provide the structure for the joint, allowing for a range of motion and force absorption during athletic activities.

Chiropractic Care for Ankle Sprains

Benefits of chiropractic care for ankle sprains

Chiropractic care offers several benefits for athletes suffering from ankle sprains, including pain relief, reduced inflammation, improved mobility, and accelerated healing. By addressing the root cause of the injury and providing personalized treatment, sports chiropractors can help athletes return to their sport more quickly and prevent future sprains.

How sports chiropractors assess ankle sprains

Sports chiropractors assess ankle sprains in several ways:

  1. Range of motion assessment: They will examine the injured ankle to see if any movements are restricted or painful. They will also look at the hip and knee joints to determine if those changes in the range of motion put more stress on the ankle
  2. Stability assessment: Sports chiropractors will also evaluate the stability of the joint to determine the severity of the injury and develop a suitable treatment plan.

Chiropractic treatment approaches

Chiropractic treatment for ankle sprains may involve a combination of approaches:

  1. Adjustments and manipulations: Chiropractors may use various techniques to mobilize the ankle joint and surrounding structures, helping to restore proper range of motion and function. Due to the nature of walking, pelvic movements influence what happens at the ankle.
  2. Extremity adjustments: In addition to joint manipulations, chiropractors may perform extremity adjustments focusing on other parts of the body that may be affected by the ankle injury. This can help address compensations or imbalances that might have contributed to the sprain in the first place. 

Additional therapies used in chiropractic care

Sports chiropractors may also use supplementary therapies to complement regular chiropractic treatment:

  1. Massage/Manual Therapy: This therapy targets soft tissues like muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It is used to reduce muscular tension, restore function, and reduce pain.
  2. Dry Needling: Dry needling is a technique that uses thin solid filament needles. When the needle is inserted into the body, it causes some damage which prompts the body to try and heal the body more. 

Rehabilitation and Recovery of Ankle Sprains with Chiropractic Care

Personalized rehabilitation exercises

Sports chiropractors often provide athletes with personalized rehabilitation exercises to promote healing and restore function, including:

  1. Strengthening exercises: These exercises target specific muscles in the ankle and lower leg to improve stability and reduce the risk of future sprains.
  2. Balancing and proprioceptive exercises: These activities focus on enhancing balance and body awareness, which can contribute to more robust ankle joint stability.
  3. Sports-specific exercises: These exercises will focus on combining strength and balance. They will recreate aspects of your sport to make sure that you can meet the demands of your chosen activity without fear of re-injuring yourself. 

Chiropractic care for long-term recovery

Sports chiropractors play a crucial role in an athlete's long-term recovery:

  1. Injury prevention: By addressing muscle imbalances and compensations in the body, chiropractic care can help prevent future ankle sprains and maintain overall joint health.
  2. Returning to optimal sports performance: Chiropractors can work with athletes to help them return to peak performance by addressing not only the injured ankle but also other aspects of the athlete's body and movement patterns.

Case Studies: Successful Ankle Sprain Recovery with Chiropractic Care

Ankle sprains in professional athletes

Many professional athletes have turned to chiropractic care to aid in their recovery from ankle sprains, allowing them to get back on the field or court more quickly and maintain their high level of performance. Just this year, Patrick Mahomes experienced a high ankle sprain before the Super Bowl. Through appropriate care, he was able to perform and lead his team to win Super Bowl LVII.

Choosing the Right Sports Chiropractor for Your Ankle Sprain

Qualifications to Look for in a sports chiropractor

When seeking a sports chiropractor to help with your ankle sprain, look for a practitioner with experience in treating sports injuries, knowledge of specific rehab protocols for ankle sprains, and relevant certifications, such as the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS) qualification or a Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner (CCSP) designation.

Tips for finding a local sports chiropractor specialized in ankle sprains

To find the best sports chiropractor for your needs, follow these tips:

  1. Ask for referrals from teammates, coaches, trainers, or healthcare providers.
  2. Look for online reviews and testimonials from athletes who have had success with the chiropractor, particularly for ankle sprain treatment.
  3. Visit the chiropractor's website or social media profiles to learn more about their experience and techniques.
  4. Schedule a consultation to discuss your injury, ask questions, and ensure you feel comfortable with the chiropractor's approach.


Ankle sprains can pose a significant challenge to athletes, affecting their performance and increasing the risk of chronic issues if not properly treated. Sports chiropractors offer a comprehensive approach to ankle sprain recovery, from assessment and treatment to rehab and long-term injury prevention. By seeking the help of a qualified sports chiropractor, athletes can overcome the setbacks caused by ankle sprains and return to their optimal performance levels. Don't let an ankle injury hold you back—embrace the benefits of sports chiropractic care for a faster, more effective recovery.

Byron  Lam

Byron Lam

Chiropractor, CCSP®, FR® Spine

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