If you are wondering why your fantasy-football playing coworkers are spending their lunch breaks hitting their heads against the lunchroom table, your answer lies ahead. Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles left Sunday’s game early in the first quarter. Jamaal Charles is arguably the best running back in the NFL and he was a top 5 fantasy football pick in virtually every draft this year. The good news is Jamaal Charles season is not in doubt; the bad news is that he will likely miss a few weeks. It turns out Jamaal Charles suffered a high ankle sprain.
Ankle sprain is very common injury and can happen during athletics, but can also happen during simple, everyday tasks. You could be walking the dog and step on an uneven surface. You could be heading home from a night at the theater and your heel could collapse underneath you. Literally, there are about a thousand different ways you could sprain your ankle. The cause of an ankle sprain is typically due to a twisting, rolling, or turning of the foot. These movements are by no means abnormal and usually the ankle ligaments naturally stretch and then revert back to normal position. However, if the motion causes the ligament to stretch beyond their normal range, than an ankle sprain can occur.
Ankle sprains is diagnosed by severity of the sprain. Grade I ankle sprains are very minimal and consist of only microscopic tearing of ligament fibers. There may be some pain, swelling and tenderness, but range of motion is minimally affected and ankle can typically still bear full weight. Grade II ankle sprains are moderate and consist of complete tears of some of the ligament fibers. There is likely pain, swelling, tenderness, bruising, decreased range of motion, and instability associated with a grade II ankle sprain. Grade III ankle sprains are severe and consist of a complete rupture of the ligament. A grade III sprain will cause severe pain, swelling, tenderness, bruising, decreased range of motion, and instability. In addition to the severity of the sprain, the location can also have an impact on the diagnosis and the prognosis. The high ankle sprain is the worst of the ligament sprains because it involves the set of ligaments that lie above the ankle. These ligaments act as a shock absorber between the tibia and fibula. Compared to the lower ankle ligaments, the higher ankle ligaments are placed under significantly more force while walking, running, jumping, and cutting.
Ankle Sprain Recovery
Recovery from an ankle sprain does not typically require surgery and occurs in three phases: resting and protection, restoration and strengthening, and gradual return to normal activity. The recovery time is dependent upon the severity and the location of the ankle sprain. Grade I sprains typically take 1-3 weeks. Grade II sprains typically take 3-6 weeks. Grade III sprains can take anywhere from 6-12 weeks. A high ankle sprain can typically take twice as long to return to form. There has yet to be a timeline released for Jamaal Charles’ return, but the initial diagnosis is a non-severe high ankle sprain; likely somewhere between a grade I and grade II ankle sprain. So while this is a pretty huge loss for Charles, the Chiefs, and all you fantasy football owners out there, there is a very good chance he returns by mid-season and if he recovers fully he should make a huge impact for the playoff push.
If you need help recovering from an ankle injury, contact our award winning sports medicine doctors at San Diego Orthopedic Surgery today.