Feature Article

The ankle sprain that does not get better

Peter Lam



Chronic ankle symptoms following a sprain may be due to intra-articular and/or extra-articular pathology of the ankle. Effective surgical treatments are available if the patient continues to be symptomatic after an appropriate course of physiotherapy.

Key Points

  • Ankle sprains don’t always get better on their own.
  • If chronic ankle instability follows a sprain, look for laxity in the lateral ligaments. Active rehabilitation is the mainstay of treatment.
  • If chronic ankle pain follows a sprain, careful examination and investigation may reveal pathology in or around the ankle joint.
  • Physiotherapy is often the first-line treatment for ankle pain. If a trial of physiotherapy fails, effective surgical treatments are available.