Ankle sprains are common in youth sports. Lateral ankle sprains are particularly an issue in youth soccer and lateral ankle sprains are the most common injury in sports requiring rapid changes in direction.

Because of the burden that ankle sprains place on community, elite and school soccer teams there is a lot of research being conducted to try and identify risk factors for lateral ankle sprains.

A recent paper out of the American Journal of Sports Medicine evaluated nearly 135 youth soccer players(U11-U17. 18% of the injuries sustained during the study period was a lateral ankle sprain.

The authors had thoroughly evaluated these athletes prior to the season. They found that hip extension weakness was a significant predictor for the development of a lateral ankle sprain.

The more we learn about sports injuries, the more we realize that we need to look at the entire kinetic chain. That means we need to focus not only on the ankle in this case, but what is happening with the hips, pelvis and body positioning above the ankle.

Consult your Coach, PT or Athletic Trainer for specific tips to train your posterior chain and minimize the risk of lateral ankle sprains.