Patient Guide

Ankle Sprain / Ankle Instability

A sprained ankle is a common medical condition where one or more of the ligaments of the ankle is torn or partially torn.

An ankle sprain is the result of ligaments (structures that hold bones together) being overstretched. The signs and symptoms of an ankle sprain include pain, bruising and swelling.


Ankle instability in sports results from ankle sprains which have not fully recovered. 

Common ankle sprains can result in tears of the ligaments and lead to looseness in the ligament and an unstable ankle. 

Similarly, tearing of the ligaments can alter the body’s ability to sense the position of the joint without you looking at it (propioception). 

This is important in sports so we control joint movement unconsciously. Reduced propioception can result in ankle instability. 

Performing complex movement in sports with an unstable ankle can result in repeated ankle sprains which lead to further injury. 

In most instances, ankle stability can be improved with rehabilitative exercises and use of braces but more severe cases may need surgery to repair or reconstruct the loose ligaments.