Sep 16, 2021

Around the ankle joint are many ligaments that act to support and stabilize the joint. An easy way to remember is to divide it into the lateral ligaments complex on the outside of the ankle, and the medial ligaments complex on the inside of the ankle. 🦢

The lateral ligaments are: the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), the posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL) and the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL). Apart from the anatomical structure of our bones that allow the ankle to roll inwards more easily, the ATFL is also the weakest ligament and most commonly injured, followed by the CFL. The medial ligaments, namely the deltoid ligament, is a much stronger structure consisting of superficial and deep layers, and thus rarely injured.

During an ankle sprain, the ligaments, muscles and soft tissue are stretched. If the ligaments are stretched beyond their limit, they tear. The anterior drawer of the ankle is the most commonly used test to assess ligament laxity, specifically of the ATFL.

To test, the subject can be sitting or lying down, with the knee relaxed. The examiner stabilizes the lower shin and cups the heel, exerting a forwards direction force to the heel. The test is positive if there is excessive translation of the talus (or foot). A translation of more than 5mm πŸ“ would indicate an ATFL tear. Do remember to compare the findings on both legs and correlate with the patient history. πŸ“‹

Not to worry if findings do indicate a tear either, as it has been shown that ankle sprains and ankle ligament tears can be managed well conservatively, without surgery. A comprehensive rehabilitation programme however, is needed. Surgery is only recommended for those with persistent symptoms and determined on individual basis. 🀸

Send us a DM or contact us at 82182905 / 62620970 to learn how to manage an ankle sprain!πŸ“±

πŸ“1. Doherty, C., Bleakley, C., Delahunt, E., & Holden, S. (2017). Treatment and prevention of acute and recurrent ankle sprain: an overview of systematic reviews with meta-analysis. British journal of sports medicine, 51(2), 113-125.
πŸ“2. Chen, E. T., McInnis, K. C., & Borg-Stein, J. (2019). Ankle Sprains. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 18(6), 217–223.
πŸ“3. Stress tests for Ankle ligaments. (n.d.). Physiopedia. Retrieved August 30, 2021, from
πŸ“4. ANKLE STRESS EXAMINATION TESTS. (n.d.). The University of West Alabama. Retrieved August 30, 2021, from

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