Lateral Ankle Sprain

What is a Lateral Ankle Sprain 

A lateral ankle sprain is a very common injury that occurs when the foot rolls underneath the ankle or leg (see picture below)

The structures that can be injured on the outside of the ankle are shown in the picture below

How the foot lands when the injury occurs will change the structures that are injured.


Causes of a Lateral Ankle Sprain

An inversion ankle injury is an acute injury that results in landing on the ankle in an inverted position.

The risk of an ankle inversion injury is increased with:

  • Specific sporting activities (basketball, soccer, netball)
  • Previous ankle sprains
  • Hypermobile joints
  • High arched foot
  • Metatarsus adductus foot posture
  • Long feet
  • Poor non supportive footwear


Diagnosis of a Lateral Ankle Sprain

Diagnosis is usually based or symptoms and a complete assessment of your foot and ankle.

X-ray and CT scans can help determine any injuries to bones

Ultrasound and MRI are beneficial when investigating the soft tissues. When examining a lateral ankle sprain after the initial inflammation has settled,  typically the anterior talofibular ligmament (ATFL) will appear thickened.


Typically ligaments are injured after an ankle sprain – for a complete list of the structures that can be impacted see the next section.

Ligament injury is based on the following:

Grade 1:  Stretching, small tears

Grade 2: Larger partial tear

Grade 3 Complete tear

Treatment of Lateral Ankle Sprain

Treatment will depend on the structures affected (click below for more information)

Typically treatment will involve RICE

R- rest

I – ice

C – compression

E- elevation


Other treatments can include:

CAM walkers (Moon Boots)

Lace up ankle bracing

Rehabilitation exercises with a strengthening program

More supportive shoes


Modulign Orthotics with a lateral rearfoot post – Click for more information


Structures injured with an Lateral Ankle Sprain


Structures that are commonly involved with a lateral ankle sprain are the:

Anterior talo-fibular ligament (ATFL)Click for more information


Structures that can also be injured although not as common:

Anterior Process of the Calcaneum Fracture – Click for more information

Peroneal Tendons – Click for more information

Calcaneo-fibular ligament- Click for more information

Ankle Sydesmosis (Anterior Tibio-fibular ligament) – Click for more information

Ankle Sydesmosis injury (Posterior Tibio-fibular ligament) – Click for more information

Fibular fracture – Click for more information

Avulsion fracture of the fibular- Click for more information

Avulsion fracture of the 5th metatarsal– Click for more information

Avulsion fracture of the talus- Click for more information

Osteochondral lesion of the talus – Click for more information

Bifurcate ligament injury – Click for more information

Sinus Tarsi painClick for more information



The Ankle, Foot and Orthotic Centre’s Northcote Podiatrists can help you with all lower limb complaints, including Ankle Sprain Make an appointment to get your foot and ankle pain under control.

Expert Podiatrists for the treatment of Ankle Sprain servicing the areas of Northcote, Thornbury, Fitzroy, North Fitzroy, Carlton, North Carlton, Alphington, Fairfield, Brunswick, Coburg and Preston

Call The Ankle and Foot Centre in Northcote for further advice on professional management and treatment options.