Rory McIlroy announced Wednesday he will not be participating in the 2015 Open Championship in St. Andrews until he is “100% healthy.” He ruptured his left ATFL (anterior talofibular ligament) “with associated joint capsule damage” while playing soccer with friends this past weekend.


What is the ATFL (anterior talofibular ligament)?

The ATLF  (anterior talofibular ligament) is a ligament in the ankle and is the most commonly injured ligament in a sprained ankle. It’s located on the anterior part of the ankle bone, closest to the front side of the ankle. It is one of the lateral ligaments of the ankle that helps prevent inversion of the foot in relation to the shin.

How are ankle sprains diagnosed?

A physical exam is performed to determine which ligaments have been affected. Overall assessment is concluded based on the location of pain, tenderness and swelling and if ankle inversion is present. An X-ray may be performed to rule out bone fractures.  Ankle sprains are then graded according to severity:

• Grade I ligaments are stretched but not ruptured

• Grade II ligaments are partially ruptured

• Grade III ligaments are fully ruptured

How are ankle sprains treated?

Depending on severity, treatment can range from pain control (Grade I) to immobilization of the ankle (Grade II and Grade III). Wearing a splint or soft cast “boot” may be required to be worn for approximately 6 – 8 weeks. This neutralizes the ankle in the proper position and allows the ruptured ligaments to rest and heal. RICE (rest, icing, compression and elevation) and taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen helps with swelling and pain. Most ankle sprains do not require surgical intervention.

How to avoid future ankle sprains:

• Flexibility and strengthening ankle exercises

• Warm up stretches before and after exercising

• Wearing good footwear: choose shoes with cushioned insoles if you walk or run on pavement

• Paying attention to surfaces you’re on

• Slowing or stopping activities when you feel tired


Suspect you have a sprained ankle? Call us today 704-542-8253 to schedule a consultation.