Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson


Ankle Joint; Joint Instability


Ankle injuries constitute one of the most common and most frequent injuries affecting the lower extremities, with lateral ligament sprains comprising the majority of the ankle injuries. The development of chronic lateral ankle instability is a relatively common occurrence following an acute ankle sprain. Previously the treatment of chronic lateral ankle instability has been primary surgical intervention, but more recently the initial treatment is shifting toward a conservative approach emphasizing functional rehabilitation of the unstable ankle. Frequently the treatment of recurrent sprains and chronic instability addresses only the symptoms; however, a treatment program addressing the underlying causes of instability needs to be implemented in order to restore normal stability to the ankle.

The purpose of this literature review is to examine the normal anatomy and biomechanics of the ankle joint, describe the difference between mechanical and functional instability, and discuss the etiology of chronic lateral ankle instability. Furthermore, a conservative management approach consisting of a functional rehabilitation program is outlined to provide general guidelines for the conservative treatment of chronic instability.