Ankle Rehabilitation: Why Are Injuries So Frequent?

The ankle is a complex area, with many structures trying to simultaneously perform different functions. This is one of the reasons why injuries are so common, making ankle rehabilitation necessary.
Ankle Rehabilitation: Why Are Injuries So Frequent?

Last update: 17 March, 2021

From sprains to fractures to osteoarthritis and many other types of injuries… it’s likely that during your life, you’ll undergo ankle rehabilitation. Here, we’ll take a look at why so many injuries occur in this area.

We’ll also take a look at the most common ankle injuries and review a little of the anatomy of this joint. With all this information, you’ll have a better understanding of how it works and how to take care of it.

Ankle anatomy

To understand injury frequency, we must first look at the anatomy of this part of the body. Functionally, the ankle joint is the joint that joins the leg to the foot.

With respect to anatomy, the ankle joint consists of two joints. The first is the tibioperoneal-astragaline joint, where the tibia and fibula of the leg join the talus bone of the foot.

Second, we have the subtalar joint, which is the junction of the talus bone with the calcaneus. A mass of ligaments, joint capsules, and other elements that help with stability cover both joints.

Ankle rehabilitation: a complex area

First of all, the reason why this area suffers injury so often is due to its function. As we’ve said, this is the junction of the leg and the foot. Therefore, it’s a region that must support the entire body weight and transmit all the force generated to the ground.

Not only that, but it also involves four different bones, each with its own function, movements, and action. If just one fails or is under excessive stress, it’ll lead to an injury and corresponding ankle rehabilitation.

A man holding on to his painful ankle.

In addition, as mentioned above, the area is covered by ligaments. As detailed in a study published in the journal Archives of Sports Medicine, their function is to stabilize the joint. But if an effort’s too continuous or abrupt, they can suffer micro-tears or tears: the dreaded sprains. In this case, given the number of ligaments and the fact that they’re always working when we’re on our feet, the possibility of injuring one or more of them increases.

Fourthly, as we just mentioned, we use the ankle joint all the time. No matter how much effort we make, as long as we’re standing, we have to constantly use this area. Running shouldn’t jeopardize the integrity of the arms, or if we box, the legs shouldn’t have to suffer. However, the ankle will have to be fully active at all times.

Most common ankle injuries

In view of the above, we must highlight the following conditions as the most common occurrences in the ankle:

  • First, the constant compression of the joint can lead to friction problems between bones.
  • If we suffer a hard fall or take a blow, it’s easy for the collision between the four bones involved to be too strong and for one of them to fracture.
  • There are many ligaments, each playing a fundamental role. If we stress any one of them too much, problems such as sprains will occur, as detailed in the academic literature on the subject.
  • Constantly using the area can lead to wear and tear problems or injuries based on continued stress, such as stress fractures, tendonitis, etc.
A soccer player suffering an ankle injury during a game.


What does ankle rehabilitation involve?

Although ankle rehabilitation will vary depending on the injury we’ve suffered, there are some points that all of them share. On the one hand, it’s vital to get the right and necessary rest. This implies resting the area sufficiently so that the structures can recover.

However, you shouldn’t rest too much because, after an injury, we must start working the area soon to recover a normal distribution of strength. Therefore, when you have to rest, do it well, and as soon as the injury allows it, start working it.

Secondly, it’s vital to aim for a full recovery. A half-hearted ankle rehabilitation can leave us with long-term consequences and, as we’ve seen, the area is used all the time, so we’ll be constantly reminded of it.

Likewise, we need to readapt the body to avoid biomechanical changes that may affect other areas. That’s to say, we have to recover the natural gait pattern, as well as running, jumping, and other movements in the most normal way possible. If we alter them, we’ll put stress on structures that aren’t used to it, and these may end up injuring themselves as a consequence.

In summary, ankle injuries are so frequent because of all of the above. It’s a very complex area, which supports a lot of weight and has to do it often. Therefore, take ankle rehabilitation very seriously and always try to fully recover.

It might interest you...
Rehabilitation and Recovery from a Torn ACL
Fit People
Read it in Fit People
Rehabilitation and Recovery from a Torn ACL

It takes about six months to recover from a torn ACL. You need to be patient and consistent. That way, you'll be able to return to normal activity.



  • Castellano, E. Sebastiá, E. Hijós et al. Rehabilitación propioceptiva de la inestabilidad de tobillo. Arch. med. deporte; 26(132): 297-305, jul.-ago. 2009
  • Y. Uceda. La rehabilitación funcional temprana del esguince lateral de tobillo. Revisión sistemática. Trabajo fin de grado para la UPNA. 2014
  • M. Pereira, L. Nader, M Gómez et al. Rehabilitación en las fracturas de tobillo: resultados. Rehabilitación; 36(5): 257-262, 2002