Ankle Sprain

By Jonathan Stiffler, Sport Center Coordinator in Collaboration with JOI Physicians.

Do You Have Cracking and Popping In Your Ankle?

Ankle Pain

Cracking and popping of joints in the ankle can be painful. This can cause concern for patients who are experiencing a sprained ankle. However, for others, popping joints can give some pain relief and reduced pressure to improve motion. So who is right?

Ankle Sprains can occur when running.

Ankle pain can occur when doing exercises.

How to Determine an Ankle Sprain?

Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute clinicians are frequently asked about popping and clicking in joints that are located in the ankle. This is typically due to patients’ fear of joint pathology and further injury such as ankle sprains. The common follow-up questions to these concerns are:

  • Was the ankle pop painful?
  • Did the ankle swell up?
  • Is there numbness or tingling in the ankle?

If the ankle pop is painful and followed up with trauma, it could be a cause for ligament damage in the area. A good example of this is a patient who recently twisted their ankle and is now experiencing painful and regular popping in the affected ankle. This could be due to moderate or severe damage to the supportive ligaments of the ankle and may require immobilization in order to heal and protect from further injury.

Is It Bad to Pop Your Ankles?

For patients who experience pain relief from popping and cracking their ankle joints, proceed with caution in order to avoid becoming a chronic popper. If frequent and daily popping is required to reduce pain and stiffness in the ankle the next step should be figuring out what is causing the pain and stiffness to begin with. A common example of this is patients who crack their backs. Yes, temporary relief can be achieved with cracking, however the root of the issue is most likely resolved with exercise, attention to posture and body mechanics, and stabilization training.

In Conclusion

Cracking within ankle joints is common and frequently harmless in most patients. Concern is warranted, however, if a recent traumatic injury or event occurred and subsequent painful cracking and popping is experienced. Lastly, it is important to be mindful of our bodies, remain aware of new occurrences or changes, and KEEP MOVING!

How To Treat Ankle Pain With JOI Physical Therapy

When treating patients for ankle pain, JOI Rehab clinicians will commonly focus on range-of-motion with active and passive mobility exercises. Another form of therapy is strength training. This will help with stability of the ankle. Balance position sense is another key factor in treating ankle pain and preventing patients from losing their sense of balance due to ankle injuries. Different pairs of shoes may also help with healing ankle pains. Lastly and perhaps most importantly is keeping up with your health. Weight loss and a healthy BMI are always recommended in the treatment of ankle pain.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, call (904) 858-7045.

If you want to learn more about ankle sprains, go to:


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