The cracking feels good and is not brought on deliberately; it just happens, like maybe when you’re putting on a sock or stretching the foot a little.

Has your sprained ankle been cracking or popping seemingly for no reason?

When it happens you not only feel it, you hear it.

  • Does it actually feel good?
  • Why does this happen and is it anything to worry about?

“Cracking or cavitations in general are usually not an issue — unless there is pain and it causes radiating symptoms or difficulty with bearing weight through the foot,” explains Dr. Megan McLain, PT, DPT, cofounder of Intuitive Choice Physical Therapy & Wellness in Atlanta, GA.

“These popping sensations can be caused by various structures as healing occurs.

“The ankle joint (or talocrural joint) can stiffen a bit during healing due to lack of motion, and then when the joint has some pressure applied to it, it cracks as the movement opens up.

“Other possible structures that can lead to cracking would be the fibularis longus and brevis tendons due to their proximity to the lateral malleolus (outside ankle bone).

“When there is inflammation in the area, these tendons can get irritated and make a cracking noise as they glide through the tissues at the ankle.

“Finally, the ligaments themselves may crack as they are healing.

“If it is painful, then you may have done too much too quick and should temporarily decrease activity levels to allow healing to occur.”

Dr. Megan McLain, PT, DPT, puts her clients first while providing one-on-one in-home care. With physical therapy and health coaching services, Dr. McLain addresses all aspects such as physical barriers, mindset, accountability and knowledge that may be impacting the client’s experience.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. 


Top image: Shutterstock/srisakorn wonglakorn