The ankle is a complex joint that can be prone to stiffness and discomfort. A common complaint is hearing or feeling a cracking sound when the ankle is rotated. This is called crepitus and can be caused by a number of things from gas releasing in the joint to something more serious like an injury or underlying condition. This article will explore why your ankle might crack and offer some tips to prevent it from happening in the future.
The most common reason for an ankle to crack when it is rotated is that a tendon slips over the bone. This is most commonly seen in people who have suffered multiple ankle sprains. Frequent sprains can weaken the ligaments that hold the ankle bones together which can lead to instability in the ankle and result in tendons snapping over the ankle bone when it is rotated.
Another cause of an ankle snapping is that the tendons on the outside of your foot, called peroneal tendons, can wear a groove into the top of your ankle bone. This groove can then be pushed into when you rotate the ankle, causing the ankle to make a popping noise. This is more likely to happen if you have had multiple ankle sprains as the repeated strain can wear down the ligaments that keep the tendons from slipping out of this groove.
One way to help prevent the ankle from snapping is to perform some ankle stretches. These exercises can be done in the morning or before exercise and will help stretch and strengthen the ankles and prevent them from becoming tight and stiff.