Imaging of foot and ankle injuries in elite footballers

Author(s): Dr Janani Kumaraguru, Dr Justin Charles Lee

Hospital: Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

Reference: RAD Magazine, 41, 487, 15-16


Foot and ankle injuries are common in elite footballers and are a major cause of significant loss of playing time. An 11-year follow-up of ankle injuries in 1,743 professional footballers revealed 13% of football-related injuries involve the ankle, with an incidence of 1.7-2.0 ankle injuries per 1,000 playing hours. The incidence of ankle sprains in Danish footballers is as high as 36% per season occurring across all levels, with a higher incidence of direct trauma in lower leagues. Ankle injuries are common across all sports, being responsible for 7.3% of the injuries in the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Chronic ankle injuries are prevalent in footballers and are commonly found on pre-signing screening studies. In the 2014 August transfer window, 30 professional football clubs’ pre-signing scans revealed ligament injuries in 23 players, tendon injuries in 12 players and cartilage injuries in 10 players.

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