Lateral Ankle Ligament Sprains

Lateral ankle injuries occur when the ankle undergoes forced inversion (toes pointing down and inwards) and the body weight rolls over the outside of the foot.

There are three main ligaments on the lateral side of the ankle connecting the Fibula (outside shine bone) to the calcaneus (heel bone) and talus (proximal foot bone);

  1. Anterior talofibular ligament (most commonly injured)
  2. Calcaneofibular ligament
  3. Posterior talofibular ligament

As the foot is inverted and body weight rolls over the outside of the foot, these ligaments are placed on stretch as the bones they support are moved away from each other. The ligament sprain can be categorised into three grades;

  • Grade 1: Mild sprain where the ligaments are stretched slightly resulting in soreness and some swelling
  • Grade 2: Moderate sprain where the ligaments partially tear making the ankle joint feel loose. This results in pain and swelling may persist. Weight bearing through the foot can be difficult
  • Grade 3: Most severe grade of sprain where the ligament/s tear completely. More significant pain and swelling results. The joint can feel unsteady and the individual probably won’t be able to put any weight through this ankle.


If you’ve sprained your ankle and need guidance on a rehabilitation program to return to your sport be in contact with Wellbeing Health today.