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ankle injury

Anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) injury is the an injury to the lateral side of the ankle and is extremely common among sportspersons. The injury can comprise of either soft tissue tears, avulsion fractures or both.

Causes of ATFL injuries 

Lateral ankle sprains occur as a result of overstretching the ATFL - the joint that keeps the ankle stable. This happens when a person lands on their ankle with the toes pointed and the foot turned in. This put a strain on the ATFL joint as it takes the full force of the bodys motion and most often leads to injuy. The ATFL joint stabilises the ankle by limiting the toes pointing and the foot rotating inwards. 

ATFL injury - diagram

Symptoms of an ATFL injury 

The ATFL joint is located on the lateral side of the ankle - the outside of the foot. If you have injured your ATFL you can expect noted tenderness in the area, swelling, bruising and often dificulty walking. 

How to treat an ATFL injury 

The first port of call would be to visit your physiotherapist so that you can have the injury diagnosed by a medical professional. Physiotherapy will carried out to help promote healing and restore full movement to the ankle. Often massage and ultrasound therapy are used to encourage healing. 

Rehabilitation would focus proprioception (balance), regaining strength in the ankle and restoring full range of movement. 

An stabilising ankle support can be worn to help keep the ankle in place while healing and to prevent future sprains. 

An ice pack should also be used when the injury first occurs to help limit swelling. 

Ankle Support Hot/cold


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