Whiplash describes an injury to the neck caused by sudden movement of the head in any direction (forward, backward and side). However, this is an extremely general term and could pretty much relate to any injury to the neck relating to sudden movement. In most cases whiplash is used to describe injuries to the neck sustained because of a road traffic collision (“RTC”) and this article will focus on this mechanism. As a side note, the term “whiplash” is mostly used to describe injuries to the neck, the same mechanism can also be applied to anywhere on the spine.
If you have ever done fell or trail running then you have probably sprained your ankle at some point in your sporting career. Lateral ankle sprains are caused by something called an inversion injury where the foot is placed on the inside of the ankle in a weight bearing position, most people would associate this mechanism as “going over on their ankle”. This mechanism causes injury to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle by stretching them and causing micro tears within the tissue. This can result in pain and instability of the ankle joint.