Overcoming Ankle Instability: Effective Strategies for Getting Back To Your Activity

Ankle instability often starts with a seemingly simple sprain—maybe from tripping over a curb during a run or twisting it in a game. However, this issue can evolve into a persistent challenge that not only affects athletes but also anyone who leads an active lifestyle. If you find your ankle frequently feeling like it might give way, it’s crucial to address this instability. Here, we’ll delve into understanding ankle instability and offer practical solutions to manage and overcome it.

Understanding Ankle Instability

Ankle instability is typically characterized by the sensation of your ankle “giving out” beneath you, often a sequel to one or more ankle sprains. This condition can lead to chronic issues such as impaired balance, reduced force absorption, muscle weakness in the calf, foot, and leg, and reduced flexibility in the ankle.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Recognising ankle instability involves more than just a wobbly ankle. Symptoms include repeated sprains even when walking on even surface, a constant feeling of instability, and/or pain.

It is important that you get an accurate diagnosis to rule out any precautions to your ankle instability i.e fractures or significant ligament damage. 

Prevention and Management Tips

Managing ankle instability involves an approach that is tailored to you, focusing on improving calf strength, lateral ankle strength, balance, and your ability to absorb force. These areas are crucial for rehabilitating the ankle fully, and reducing the risk of future issues. These exercises are not suitable for everyone, and must be designed with your end goal in mind, so please get into contact with us to see if these are appropriate for you!

Examples of ankle exercises include the below;

Calf Strength;

Lateral ankle strength;


Force absorption;


FAQs on Ankle Instability

  • “How often should I exercise my ankle?” Aim for 3-4 times per week, depending on your rehabilitation goals.
  • “Do I need surgery for my ankle sprain?” Surgery is rarely needed unless there’s significant laxity, bone damage, or other major pathology.

Living with Ankle Instability

While ankle instability can be frustrating, understanding its mechanics and how to strengthen your ankle can make a huge difference. Incorporating specific exercises into your routine, tailored to your needs and goals, is key to your recovery.



Ankle instability doesn’t have to limit your life from sport or activity. With the right knowledge and approach, you can overcome your instability, strengthen your ankle, and return to your active lifestyle. Remember, personalised advice and treatment plans from physiotherapy professionals are your best bet for a full recovery. 

To help with your ankle pain or instability, click here to book a physiotherapy session, or email us at info@momentumphysiogroup.com.au to get more information.

**At Momentum Physio and Rehab Group we commonly discuss potential strategies to improve symptoms, although the advice and education provided are not necessarily individualised and may not be right for your individual circumstances. If you’re experiencing any pain or injury, please talk with one of our team before attempting one of these suggestions!

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