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Chronic Ankle Instability

Do you roll your ankle every time you play sport? Do you rely on ankle braces to feel confident in your ankle? Do your ankles feel unstable?

You are not alone! Chronic ankle instability is actually very common, with 40-70% of people who suffer an acute ankle sprain still experiencing symptoms 12 months later. This percentage is particularly high in the athletic population. Thankfully research shows that Physiotherapy can help reduce your instability, allowing you to feel more confident in your ankle and participate in the things you love.


If you or your clinician are suspecting chronic ankle instability, then a thorough physical examination assessing swelling, talar translation, talar inversion and single leg balance should be completed. Talar translation and talar inversion are just fancy ways of saying – is your ankle unstable and does it move too much? If it is, chances are that you are suffering from chronic ankle instability!


Balance should be assessed both statically and dynamically – as these are both necessary for you to enjoy everyday activities. Based on your testing results, your Physiotherapist is likely to prescribe a series of therapeutic exercises, including proprioceptive, neuromuscular and strengthening exercises for both your ankle and the lower kinetic chain. These exercises will target the specific deficits contributing to your ankle instability. During your rehabilitation, your Physiotherapist may encourage you to continue strapping or bracing your ankle during activity. However, the goal is to eventually have a strong and steady enough ankle that you will no longer need tape or bracing to be active!

It is important to remember that strapping or bracing will not promote any sustained improvements in balance, postural stability and overall stability of your ankle, and you should therefore not rely on them if you want to improve in the future.

If you would like a well-structured and impairment specific examination and rehabilitation program, book in today to see one of our experienced Physiotherapists.


Gribble, P. A., Delahunt, E., Bleakley, C., Caulfield, B., Docherty, C., Fourchet, F., Fong, D. T.-P., Hertel, J., Hiller, C., Kaminski, T., McKeon, P., Refshauge, K., Wees, P. v. d., Vincenzino, B., & Wikstrom, E. (2014). Selection criteria for patients with chronic ankle instability in controlled research: a position statement of the International Ankle Consortium. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(13), 1014-1018. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2013-093175

Herzog, M., Kerr, Z., Marshall, S., & Wikstrom, E. (2019). Epidemiology of Ankle Sprains and Chronic Ankle Instability. Journal of Athletic Training, 54(6): 603-610

Martin, R., Davenport, T., Fraser, J., Sawdon-Bea, J., Carcia, C., Carroll, L., Kivlian, B., & Carreira, D. (2021). Ankle Stability and Movement Coordination Impairments: Lateral Ankle Ligament Sprains Revision. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 51(4), CPG1-CPG80. https://doi.org/10.2519/jospt.2021.0302