Lateral Ankle Joint Injuries in Indoor and Court Sports: A Systematic Video Analysis of 445 Nonconsecutive Case Series

Timo Bagehorn, Mark de Zee, Daniel T P Fong, Kristian Thorborg, Uwe G Kersting, Filip Gertz Lysdal


BACKGROUND: Lateral ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries in indoor and court sports. Self-reports and case studies have indicated that these injuries occur via both contact and noncontact injury mechanisms typically because of excessive inversion in combination with plantarflexion and adduction of the foot. Video-based documentation of the injury mechanism exists, but the number of cases reported in the literature is limited.

PURPOSE: To retrieve and systematically analyze a large number of video-recorded lateral ankle injuries from indoor and court sports, as well as describe the injury mechanism, injury motion, and injury pattern across different sports.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.

METHODS: A total of 445 unique video-recorded lateral ankle sprain injuries were retrieved from indoor and court sports of broadcasted levels of competition. The videos were independently analyzed by 2 different reviewers. Outcomes included classification of the injury mechanism according to the International Olympic Committee consensus guidelines, primary and secondary motions of ankle joint distortion, and documentation of the fixation point (fulcrum) around which the foot rotates.

RESULTS: Overall, 298 (67%) injuries were direct contact, 113 (25%) were noncontact, and 32 (7%) were indirect contact incidents. Direct contact injuries were especially prevalent in basketball (76%), handball (80%), and volleyball (85%), while noncontact injuries dominated in tennis and badminton (96% vs 95% across both). Inversion (65%) and internal rotation (33%) were the primary distortion motions, with the lateral forefoot (53%) and lateral midfoot (40%) serving as the main fulcrums. Landing on another player's foot was the leading cause of injury (n = 246; 55%), primarily characterized by inversion (79%) around a midfoot fulcrum (54%). The noncontact and indirect landings on floor (n = 144; 33%) were primarily characterized by a distortion around a forefoot fulcrum (69%).

CONCLUSION: Two of 3 ankle sprains from online video platforms were direct contact injuries, with most involving landing on another player's foot. The distortion motion seems to be related to the injury mechanism and the fixation point between the foot and the floor. The injury mechanisms varied greatly between sports, and future studies should clearly differentiate and investigate the specific injury mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe American journal of sports medicine
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1572-1584
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • Humans
  • Ankle Injuries
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Video Recording
  • Athletic Injuries
  • Male
  • Female
  • Adult
  • Young Adult
  • Ankle Joint
  • Biomechanical Phenomena


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