Ruptured ATFL Sidelines Golfer Rory McIlroy

McIlroy Ankle

The golf world received a shock this morning when the #1 Ranked player in the world, Rory McIlroy, posted an Instagram of himself in a walking boot and crutches.  His caption read “Total rupture of left ATFL (Ankle Ligament) and associated joint capsule damage…” making many speculate whether or not he would be able to participate in golfs third major championship of the year, The Open Championship (British Open) in 10 days.

Dr. Drew Van Boerum from the Intermountain Orthopedic Specialty Group at TOSH helped calm some of those fears when asked about this injury by saying that a ‘rupture’ is a really strong way of saying ‘sprain.'

“The ATFL is the Anterior TaloFibular Ligament and in the context of the ATFL, rupturing this ligament means he sprained his ankle.  When the ATFL is ruptured one likely injuries the joint capsule as well,” said Dr. Van Boerum.

The ATFL is one of four major ligaments in the ankle that provides stability and flexibility.  According to Dr. Van Boerum a sprain of the ATFL rarely requires surgery; however, if he continues to injure the ankle long term, he may need surgery down the road for chronic instability, but this is not very common.

Rory commented that he has already started rehab and hopes to get back to golf as soon as he can.  Dr. Van Boerum speculates that for a major championship, and the money on the line, McIlroy would likely play in the upcoming tournament.  “My guess is he’ll have his ankle taped and maybe braced and he’ll play.  I’m sure he’ll be sore but I can’t imagine it would keep him off the course”

Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries with an estimated 1 million ER visits each year from ankle injuries.  Most ankle injuries can be treated at home with RICE

-          Rest

-          Ice

-          Compression

-          Elevation

Dr. Troy Gorman from the Orthopedic Specialty Group at LDS Hospital talks more about ankle sprains and when it might be appropriate to see a doctor in this video.