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ATFL Strain: All You Need To Know


Injury in the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), a band of tissues located on the outside of the ankle.

ATFL strain is the most common among injuries to the ankle. [1]

- Treatable by medical professionals
- Requires medical diagnosis
- Lab tests and imaging are often required
- Short term: gets better in a few weeks

This injury occurs when in the ankle-inversion movement, the tip of toes points away from leg, i.e. in plantar-flexion (for ex. when standing on tip of toes). The strain occurs when the ligament is stretched excessively. It can occur while running, cutting, landing from a jump or even direct contact. A tear or pop can be heard on rare occasions.

People affected: Males between 14-25 years and females over 30 years are more affected, athletes having highest risks.


ATFL strains are classified into Grade I, II, and III and symptoms are mild, moderate and severe respectively in these.

People may experience:
Pain: In lateral ankle or foot
Swelling: Immediate, in ankle or foot
Restricted motion of the ankle
Difficulty: In bearing weight over the ankle


Self-care: Take adequate rest, apply ice and compression to relieve pain and keep the ankle elevated on pillows while lying down.

Medications: Anti-inflammatory pain relievers are commonly prescribed, to help with pain and inflammation both. Common analgesics or narcotics can be used as alternatives if these don’t work.

Supportive measures: The doctor may require ankle to be placed in a cast or brace, or crutches may be used for no-weight bearing of the ankle. Therapy starts after a week to increase range of motion.
We at mfine, specialize in orthopaedics and our endeavour is to provide hassle-free treatment, engage with us to benefit from our wholesome treatment plans.

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