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5 Essential Insights on Pickleball Ankle Injury

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

The sports landscape in Vancouver is richer than ever, thanks to the presence of international organizations like FIFA and BIFA. Soccer and basketball have long been beloved in the community, but now there's a new game in town capturing hearts—pickleball. As the sport gains popularity, we're also seeing a surge in injuries like ankle injuries. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or a weekend warrior, understanding how to minimize and treat ankle injuries is crucial. That's why this comprehensive guide from a Vancouver Physiotherapist is a must-read.


ATFL Pickleball ankle injury

In this blog, we will delve deep into the ligaments most susceptible to sports injuries: the Anterior Talofibular Ligament (ATFL), Other ligaments such as the Calcaneo Fibular Ligament, and Posterior Talofibular Ligament can sometimes be injured also. We'll explore how these ligaments are particularly vulnerable in high-impact sports and emerging games like pickleball, and offer essential tips for effective treatment and taping.









What is ATFL, and How Does It Relate to Pickleball Ankle Injury?

The Anterior Talofibular Ligament (ATFL) is a key ligament that contributes to ankle stability. In pickleball, as in other sports, rapid lateral movements and sudden stops can put undue stress on this ligament. An ankle sprain in pickleball often implicates the ATFL, highlighting the need for specialized treatment from a Vancouver Physiotherapist.

ATFL Pickleball ankle injury


Calcaneo Fibular Ligament and Posterior Talofibular Ligament

While the ATFL often takes center stage when discussing ankle sprains, the Calcaneo Fibular Ligament and Posterior Talofibular Ligament should not be overlooked. These ligaments also play a vital role in ankle stability and can be impacted by a severe pickleball ankle injury. Proper assessment and treatment by a Vancouver Physiotherapist are crucial for optimal recovery.

Gender Differences in Ankle Injuries

Gender differences in sports injuries, including pickleball ankle injuries, are an area of ongoing research. Preliminary studies suggest that female athletes may be at a higher risk due to factors like biomechanics, hormonal fluctuations, and muscle strength. Gender-specific treatment plans are therefore an essential part of the recovery process.

Essential Tips on Treating a Pickleball Ankle Injury

  1. Immediate Response: Employ the MEAT protocol - Movement, Exercise, Analgesics, Treatment - as soon as the injury occurs.

  2. Consult a Vancouver Physiotherapist: Get a professional evaluation for a tailored treatment plan, especially vital for pickleball-specific injuries.


  1. Physical Therapy: A range of motion exercises and strength-building activities can expedite recovery and prevent future injuries.

  2. Pain Management: Over-the-counter medication may be used to control pain and inflammation, but consult a doctor for personalized advice.

ATFL Pickleball ankle injury

How to Tape an Ankle after a Pickleball Injury

Taping is a common method used to provide additional support and stability to an injured ankle, especially when the Anterior Talofibular Ligament (ATFL) is involved. While taping should not replace professional medical advice, it can be an effective part of a comprehensive treatment plan for a pickleball ankle injury or similar sports-related injuries. Here's a detailed guide on how to tape an ATFL injury, but please consult a Vancouver Physiotherapist for personalized guidance tailored to your specific condition.

Materials You Will Need:

  • Athletic tape (1.5-inch or 2-inch width)

  • Scissors

  • Optional: foam pads for added comfort

  • (Optional) Pre-wrap or a similar material to protect the skin

Step 1: Preparing the Ankle

Before you start taping, make sure the ankle is clean and dry. You can use pre-wrap to lightly cover the area where you'll apply the tape, as this prevents skin irritation.

Step 2: Anchoring

Anchor strips are essential for holding the tape in place. Start by wrapping a strip of tape around the base of the calf, just above the ankle. Then, apply another strip at the ball of the foot.

Step 3: Stirrup Strips

These strips provide lateral support to the ankle. Attach a strip of tape to one of the anchor points at the ball of the foot, pull it upward along the side of the ankle, over the ATFL, and attach it to the anchor at the base of the calf. Repeat this 2-3 times on each side of the ankle.

Step 4: Heel Locks

Heel locks help to secure the calcaneus (heel bone) and protect the ATFL further. Starting at the anchor point on the calf, run the tape down the side of the ankle, loop it under the heel, and then back up to the opposite side of the calf. Repeat this step, but this time start from the opposite side. You can also do the same starting from the anchor at the ball of the foot.

Step 5: Figure-Eight Wraps

Initiate a figure-eight pattern, starting from the anchor point at the ball of the foot. Loop the tape around the ankle, crossing over the ATFL, then back to the starting point. Repeat 2-3 times, ensuring each loop is snug but not overly tight.

Step 6: Locking

Finish by wrapping a few horizontal strips around the ankle and the base of the calf to lock in all the support strips and heel locks. This will hold everything securely in place.

Step 7: Comfort Check

Perform a quick comfort check. The tape should feel supportive but should not cause any pinching or restrict blood flow. Flex your ankle gently to make sure the tape allows for some movement.

Step 8: Final Assessment

Finally, walk around a little to test how well the tape supports your ATFL injury. If you experience any discomfort, you may need to re-tape the ankle.

Remember, taping is just one part of a multi-pronged approach to treating an ATFL injury, particularly for sports like pickleball. Consult a Vancouver Physiotherapist for a complete diagnosis and treatment plan tailored specifically for your needs. As pickleball gains momentum in Vancouver, understanding the dynamics of pickleball ankle injury and how it relates to key ligaments like ATFL becomes increasingly important. Whether you're a male or female athlete, a Vancouver Physiotherapist can offer specialized treatment plans to ensure you return to the court as swiftly and safely as possible.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice.


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