HomeAnswersOrthopedician and Traumatologyligament injuryI am suffering from an anterior talofibular ligament tear. Is it safe to continue playing sports with this injury?

What is the healing time for anterior talofibular ligament injury?


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Medically reviewed by

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Published At August 8, 2023
Reviewed AtJanuary 18, 2024

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

Can you provide information on a full-thickness tear of the ATFL (anterior talofibular ligament)? Additionally, I would like to know if it is safe for me to continue playing sports with this injury and what is the typical healing timeline?.

Kindly help.


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Thank you for your query.

I understand your concern. In the case of a full tear of the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), it typically requires a longer time to heal. Conservative treatment for approximately six weeks is often recommended to reduce the need for surgical repair, if necessary. The initial treatment approach includes following the RICE protocol, which stands for rest, icing, compression, and elevation, during the first two to three days. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be taken for pain relief. Immobilization of the ankle with a support device or a below-knee cast is often advised for a minimum of 10 to 14 days. Following the immobilization period, controlled therapeutic physical therapy exercises are initiated to regain the full range of motion, strength, and proprioceptive abilities. If you follow these instructions, you may be able to avoid surgical intervention if the treatment plan is followed consistently and monitored closely. It is crucial to be patient and refrain from engaging in sports activities until you have fully healed to prevent re-injury and ensure proper recovery. It may take approximately two to three months to be completely confident that the healing process is complete. Some research suggests that the injured limb should function at a minimum of 80% compared to the uninjured limb before resuming sports activities.

I hope this answer helped you,

Thank you.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Ahmed Aly Hassan Mahmoud
Dr. Ahmed Aly Hassan Mahmoud

Orthopedician and Traumatology

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