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When do I start playing football after ligament tear?

Q: I am 17 years old male and I recently had a ligament tear in my ankle. I am a football player and want to know when I can start playing again?

A:Here is a general guideline for return to play activities after ankle sprains:

  1. Pain-free full range of motion: the injured body part should have full movement and flexibility with little or no discomfort.
  2. Return of strength: the injured body part should be approximately equal (90-95 percent) to the opposite side before returning to full activity.
  3. Minimal pain or swelling: some mild discomforts stiffness and/or swelling during or after exercise should be expected during the initial return to activity. This responds well to ice therapy.
  4. Functional retraining: you should be able to perform the specific motions and actions required for your sport effectively before returning to activity.

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