Ankle Pain

Ankle Injuries

Common Ankle Injuries

Your ankle muscles and tendons dynamically control, move and protect your ankle joint, In simple terms, your muscles move your foot and stabilise your ankle joint to avoid you overstretching your ligaments. Unfortunately, when your muscles lose control or are not quick enough, your ligaments are not protected, resulting in overstretched ligaments (ankle sprain) or complete ligament rupture. Ouch, that hurts!

However, there are many other types on ankle injuries besides a sprained ankle, and we categorise them by the kind of tissue injured, e.g. bone (fracture), ligament (sprained ankle), muscle (strain or tear), or tendon (tendinopathy or tendonitis).

Ankle pain can arise from traumatic ankle ligament sprains or ankle fractures (broken bones). Plus, ankle pain can be more subtle in origin. Tendinopathies, degenerative arthritis and biomechanical disorders can develop ankle pain over time.

There are a lot of ankle injuries – not just sprained ankles. It is essential to accurately diagnose what is wrong with your ankle to ensure that both your short and long-term treatment to achieve your goals as soon as possible.

Your Ankle Ligaments

Your ankle joint, which is known as the talocrural joint, is made up of three bones. Your tibia (shin bone; inside ankle bone), fibula (outer lower leg bone; outside ankle bone), and your talus (deep ankle bone). Beneath your talocrural joint lies the subtalar joint, which is the articulation between the talus and the calcaneus (heel bone). This forgotten joint is overlooked frequently during assessment, diagnosis and rehabilitation.

Your ankle ligaments attach bone-to-bone. They passively limit the motion available at each joint.

ankle ligaments

Outside of the ankle are the lateral ligaments.  These ligaments are the most frequently injured in a lower ankle sprain. These include the:

  • anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL)
  • calcaneofibular ligament (CFL)
  • posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL)

The main medial (inside of the ankle) ligament is the much stronger deltoid ligament.

High ankle sprains involve the inferior tibiofibular ligament and syndesmosis. These are more disabling ankle injuries. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis is common.

For specific advice regarding your ankle injury, please visit one of the specific ankle injury information pages on this website, or arrange a consultation with one of our ankle physiotherapists.

FAQs

FAQs 2

Yes! You Can Definitely Improve Your Balance.

The research has confirmed for many years that balance retraining works. It can also take only a few weeks progressed balance exercises to improve or normalise your balance and corrective reactions. You can perform simple exercises initially such as standing on one leg with eyes open and progress to eyes closed, but after that, the best way to improve your balance is to exercise on an unstable surface. For more information about balance assessment and retraining, please contact your physiotherapist.

Balance Enhancement Products:

Over the years, there have been numerous devices developed to assist clinicians to improve the balance of their clients. This has greatly reduced the incidence of ankle and knee ligament sprains, and at the same time, improve the performance of the athlete. Now, these balance devices can be used by you, in your own home to improve your balance and reduce your injury chance or eliminate your joint pain.
  • Air Disc
  • Balance Pad
  • Balance Beam
  • Swiss Exercise Ball
  • Wobble Board

Are You Tired of Your Joints Clicking?

Can You Be Click Free?

Would you love your joints not to crack?  Have you ever wondered what really makes your bones moan and groan in the first place?  Despite many myths, here are three real and different reasons as to why your joints persist to click... Your tendons may be simply slipping over some bumps on your bones so that when the tendon slips over the bump it clicks.  But don't worry this isn't usually a problem.  Occasionally it is due to poor joint positioning or ligament damage.  Easy remedies include simple alignment or stabilisation exercises. Ask your helpful physio if you have any doubts. When joints click this could indicate arthritic problems.  Joints are held under tight compression that results in the two bone surfaces grating back and forth, over the top of each other. Sounds as unpleasant as running your fingernails down a blackboard doesn't it? However this can usually be easily fixed through some simple physiotherapy treatment and sticking to an exercise program that improves your joint alignment, muscle strength and flexibility. But don't procrastinate ... the problem can rapidly deteriorate if left unattended. The third main reason is gas, that normally builds up within a joint, suddenly popping out of the joint, when the joint is forcibly stretched or compressed.  It's just like bursting a balloon, but much quieter. You'll know the guilty people. Those who regularly crack their knuckles, neck, back or toes. You can achieve the same result with less long-term harm by gentle joint stretching and mobility techniques to gradually loosen stiff joints.  You'll probably also require some simple strength exercises to control the newly gained movement.  Ultimately, these conservative methods are preferable in the long term, as repeat manipulation or cracking destroys the supportive ligaments and eventually the joints fall out of position much easier! And the looser your joints the quicker they develop degenerative arthritis and subsequent pain. Grandma was right - excessive knuckle cracking can cause arthritis. By performing specific exercises and stretches and following the advice of your physio you can wake up, stand or sit up - click free!

Why Do Physiotherapists Prescribe You Exercises?

The prescription of exercise appropriate to you and your injury or fitness level is one of the many professional skills of a physiotherapist. Whether you have suffered an acute injury, chronic deconditioning or are recovering from surgery, the correct exercise prescription is essential. That's why your physiotherapist's knowledge and skills will personalise your exercise dose. Your physiotherapist not only is educated in injury diagnosis but also exercise physiology or the science of exercise. This training enables your physiotherapist to assess and diagnose your injury, plus also to prescribe injury, fitness or age-appropriate activities targeted to you now.

What Exercises Should You Do?

Your exercises shouldn't be painful. Please take caution with some overzealous exercise prescribers who believe that the more painful the activity, the better. Thus simply isn't true—notably, the frail, immunosuppressed, deconditioned or post-operative person. You'll find that your physiotherapist will thoroughly examine you and prescribe a series of exercises suitable for you in quantities that will not injure you further. Please seek an exercise expert, such as your physiotherapist, when you are planning your rehabilitation.

What Happens When You Stop Exercises?

Without some simple exercises, we know that specific muscles can become weak. When these supporting muscles are weak, your injured structures are inadequately supported and predispose you to linger symptoms or further injury. You can also over-activate adjacent muscles that may lead to further damage. It is also essential to understand that even if you are "in good shape", you may have crucial but weak localised or stability muscles. When you have an injury, you should perform specific exercises that specifically strengthen the muscles around your injury and the adjacent joints. Your physiotherapist will assess your muscle function and prescribe the right exercises specific for your needs. The exercises prescribed will usually be relatively simple, and do not require any special weights equipment, and can be performed safely at home.

Would You Stop Your Daily Prescription Drugs?

Your physiotherapist will prescribe your individualised dose or exercises. They are using their professional expertise to optimise your exercise dose. Would you just stop taking your regular blood pressure medication because you were too busy or didn't think it was working? We would hope not! Exercise, when prescribed by an expert such as your physiotherapist, should be treated as your recommended dose. Just like when you don't take your blood pressure medication, you can't expect the drugs to work of you don't take it as prescribed by your health professional. So, next time you skip your "exercise dose" just remember that you are not putting your health first. If you have any questions, please contact your Physio Works physiotherapist for your best care.

Private Health Insurance Rebates

PhysioWorks Physiotherapy and Remedial Massage are more affordable than you think. Your Private Health Insurance (PHI) usually pays for the majority of your treatment fees, leaving you with only a small gap payment.

However, Private Health Funds do vary their rebates payable depending upon the level of cover that you have taken. Some funds have kept up with the costs of modern medicine whereas, sadly others haven't, with rebates similar to what they were a decade ago.

HICAPS - Instant Health Fund Claims


Most health funds are members of the HICAPS instant claims system.  Swipe your health insurance card at our reception counter, and you can instantly claim your physiotherapy treatment via our online Hicaps System. Remedial Massage is claimable via Hicaps for some but not all funds. For more information, please visit Hicaps for the latest funds which can use their instant claiming system.

Private health insurance rebates are available for all of our physiotherapists. Instant claims are possible via our in-practice Hicaps system.

Third-Party Insurers

PhysioWorks practitioners are registered providers for government, Workcover and insurance companies including:

  • Workcover
  • InjuryNet
  • Australia Post; Coles Myer; Woolworths
  • Medicare
  • Department of Veterans' Affairs
  • CTP & Sports Insurers
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