May 29, 2023

When someone rolls their ankle, common advice is to just rest, ice and let it settle. Although this may have a role to play in the recovery process, it is definitely not all that is needed to fully recover from an ankle sprain!

Ankle anatomy

First, let’s talk about the anatomy of the ankle. Most commonly, people will roll the outside of their ankle. The outer side of the ankle has three key ligaments which connect bone to bone and provide stability to the ankle joint. These three ligaments are:

  • ATFL (anterior tibio-fibular ligament) – runs forward
  • CFL (calcaneo-fibular ligament) – runs down
  • PTFL (posterior tibio-fibular ligament) – runs backwards

If you roll your ankle, there is a chance you have injured one of these ligaments (especially the ATFL, it’s the most injured of all these ligaments). There are other structures around the ankle that can be injured too (like your ankle cartilage, your local tendons, the joints in your midfoot and/or the actual bones themselves), but this blog is simply focus on these ligaments. The severity of the ligament injury will vary depending on various factors and, lucky for you, a physiotherapist’s hand can best evaluate this ligament severity within their assessment. If we need further information on the ligament integrity your physiotherapist may send you off for an ultrasound or MRI scan, but this is not in every case.

What does an injury to these ligaments mean for me?

Unfortunately, 1 in 3 people who roll their ankle will go on to develop chronic ankle instability. In other words, the will continue to roll their ankle numerous times and more frequently and easily. This is partly due to the lack of rehabilitation performed after the injury.

When we have a ligament injury, this means a passive structure has been damaged resulting in compromised passive stability of the ankle joint. This makes it very important to account for this loss of passive stability through active stability. Active stability comes from our muscles and how well they are able to control the movements of the joint and their ability to resist forces going through it. The key muscle groups to work on are the foot and calf muscles. It’s also important to work on your balance! Altogether this will reduce the risk of re-injuring your ankle. It’ll also help you to run and play sport better!

If you’re struggling with an ankle injury, come in to see one of our Physiotherapists to kick start your recovery process and get back to doing what you love sooner!





More Optimal Tips

Help me pick a pillow!
Help me pick a pillow!

July 17, 2024

Choosing a pillow can feel like an overwhelming and confusing task, with the guidelines of this article we hope you feel informed and empowered to find a solution to your sleep related troubles

Continue Reading

Is your gut healthy? What is all this talk about gut microbiome?
Is your gut healthy? What is all this talk about gut microbiome?

July 17, 2024

Gut health and the gut microbiome – these are big topics in the media currently, and yes, they are incredibly powerful factors in someone’s health status. Let Dietitian Emily help you better understand these ‘tummy topics’ and she’ll explain how her expertise in dietary assessment + treatment can support your efforts to feel at your best by feeding the gut best!  

Continue Reading

Every bodily cell benefits from exercise!
Every bodily cell benefits from exercise!

July 17, 2024

Yes, it is literally all systems GO when we are talking about the benefits of exercise. Our heart, lungs, kidneys and nervous system (and more) have positive responses to exercise, and thus did you know you can effectively treat common chronic diseases like depression and diabetes with exercise? Read on to learn more!

Continue Reading