Korean J Sports Med.  2020 Mar;38(1):12-19. 10.5763/kjsm.2020.38.1.12.

The Time of Return to Play after Surgery for Chronic Lateral Ankle Instability in Athletes: A Systematic Review

  • 1Sejong Sports Medicine and Performance Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 2CM Hospital of National Training Center of Korean Sport & Olympic Committee, Jincheon, Korea
  • 3Seoul CM Hospital, Seoul, Korea


The study aimed to assess the average time to return to play following surgery for chronic lateral ankle instability in athletes.
A literature search was conducted (1976 to 2019) by two independent reviewers using the Medline, Embase, and Cochrane library databases. Articles were retrieved by an electronic search using individual keywords (“lateral ankle instability,” “surgery,” “operation,” “return to sport,” “return to play”) and their combinations. Studies that met the inclusion criteria were assessed for pertinent data.
Six randomized controlled trials were included in this analysis. The mean follow-up period was 44.8 months (range, 31.8–58.1 months) in 219 patients (male, 126; female, 113). The mean age was 23.2 years (range, 18.2– 28.2 years). Different criteria for returning to sports were used in each paper. In the papers included in this study, different methods and definitions were used for the postoperative recovery method for lateral ankle instability injury. The average time until return to play was 16.53 weeks.
There are limitations to the application of different surgical techniques and data from different athletes for chronic lateral ankle instability. However, these results suggest that sports physicians evaluate the surgical outcome and may be utilized as reference data for informing the athletes about their time until return.


Ankle injury; Return to play; Return to sport
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