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My ankle keeps rolling! What can I do?

How to reduce your risk of recurrent ankle sprains with this easy exercise.


Do you roll your ankle numerous times a year? Does your ankle constantly feel unstable? If so, then this article is very important for you to read.


A study by Mckay et al in 2001 stated that up to 70% of patients will suffer from repetitive ankle sprains and chronic symptoms after the initial ankle sprain.

If left without proper rehabilitation or any form of treatment, lateral ankle sprains will almost definitely occur again, and with each re-injury there is worsening of the symptoms and longer recovery times. The subsequent reduction in ankle function will almost definitely have a negative impact on your sport or gym performance. With the likelihood of serious injury increasing, your everyday life may be affected too.

However, with the right rehabilitation and advise the likelihood of re-injury is significantly reduced and your performance will be greatly influenced.

The most commonly injured and affected structures during repetitive ankle sprains are the ligaments. The muscles and bony structures around the ankle can get affected as well. The Anterior talofibular, calcaneofibular and less commonly the posterior talofibular ligaments (as shown in the diagram) are injured in lateral ankle sprains which lead to the laxity of the joint, increasing the risk of recurrent injuries.


Furthermore, with damage of the ligaments there can be a subsequent loss of proprioception i.e. the knowledge of where our limb is in space. When our ligaments are put in a stretched position, messages are sent to the brain telling us we need to adjust the ankles position as it is at risk of injury.

When this process is compromised the body cannot make fast adjustments, which reduces the ankles stability and increases the risk of recurrent ankle sprains or more serious injury.

The simplest way to train proprioception and improve ankle stability is through balance exercises, which can be performed in a few minutes every single day.

A study by McHugh et al (2007) found that balance training reduces the incidence of ankle sprain by 77% in football players with a history of previous ankle sprain.

So if you would like to significantly reduce your risk of recurrent ankle sprains then check out my three balance progressions that you can do in a matter of minutes!

Stage 1: Balance on one foot. Try this until you can balance for at least 30 seconds.

Stage 2: Balance on one foot on a pillow. Try this until you can balance for at least 30 seconds.

Stage 3: Balance on one foot on a pillow whilst throwing a tennis ball against a wall and catching it.

Now this is only one aspect of your treatment and will help you to a point in your rehabilitation. If you are suffering from recurrent ankle sprains then you do need help from a physiotherapist. Come down to Insync Physiotherapy in Marrickville for more extensive treatment. Click here to book your appointment.