Acute Ankle Injuries

19 Mar Acute Ankle Injuries

It has been great to see the return of sports, however at SportsFit we have started to see an increase in people with ankle pain and ankle injuries.

Ankle injuries are very common in many sports, such as football and netball. This article will discuss acute ankle injuries, which means ankle injuries that occur suddenly from a particular event.

Commonly this involves an ‘ankle sprain’, which is an overstretched or torn ligament.

However, many other injuries can occur in the ankle – including to the bones, cartilage and tendons. There are also different types of ankle ligament injuries, which will affect the way the ankle heals and also dictate it’s best management.


Anatomy of the Ankle

Ligaments are strong structures which stabilise the ankle. There are ligaments on:

  • the outside of the ankle (known as the lateral ankle ligaments)
  • the inside of the ankle (known as the medial ankle ligaments),
  • higher up above the ankle (inferior tibiofibular ligaments/syndesmosis)
  • stabilising the joints of the feet (such as the spring ligament)

The muscles around the ankle also work to stabilise the ankle, and stop the ligaments from being overstretched. Sometimes however in sport, injuries can happen where the muscles are unable to stabilise the ankle fast enough or there is a blow to the ankle which can overstretch these ligaments.


Common injuries

The outside (or ‘lateral’) ankle is not the only part of the ankle we can injure with an acute ankle injury. We can broadly divide the more common ankle injuries into the location they occur:



A physiotherapist or podiatrist is highly skilled to assess any acute ankle injury. Diagnosis is determined by:

  • Mechanism of injury- How did it occur?
  • Signs and symptoms- Where is your ankle pain and symptoms? Do you have swelling? Can you weight-bear? etc
  • Objective and special tests

They will also be able to determine and give you a referral if you require any further investigations (ie. X-ray or MRI).

Stay tuned for our future blogs where we will discuss more specific types of acute ankle injury and the management for these conditions.

If you have or know of anyone with an ankle injury you can book an appointment today with our experts:

Book Ankle Physio

Our expert ankle physiotherapists are available monday-saturday at our glen iris clinic and servicing malvern east, ashburton, camberwell, hawthorn, chadstone, carnegie and hawthorn.