OBJECTIVE To determine the point prevalence of chronic musculoskeletal ankle disorders in the community. DESIGN Cross-sectional stratified (metropolitan vs regional) random sample. SETTING General community. PARTICIPANTS Population-based computer aided telephone survey of people aged 18-65 in New South Wales (Australia). A total of 751 participants provided data from 2078 contacted. INTERVENTIONS Not applicable. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Point prevalence for no history of ankle injury or chronic ankle problems (no ankle problems), history of ankle injury without residual problems, and chronic ankle disorders. Chronic musculoskeletal ankle disorders due to ankle sprain, fracture, arthritis, or other disorder compared by chi-square for presence of pain, weakness, giving way, swelling and instability, activity limitation, and healthcare use in the past year. RESULTS There were 231 (30.8%) participants with no ankle problems, 342 (45.5%) with a history of ankle injury but no chronic problems, and 178 (23.7%) with chronic ankle disorders. The major component of chronic ankle disorders was musculoskeletal disorders (n=147, 19.6% of total sample) most of which were due to ankle injury (n=117, 15.6% of total). There was no difference among the arthritis, fracture, sprain and other groups in the prevalence of the specific complaints, or healthcare use. Significantly more participants with arthritis had to limit activity than in the sprain group (Fisher exact test p=.003). CONCLUSIONS Chronic musculoskeletal ankle disorders affected almost 20% of the Australian community. The majority were due to a previous ankle injury and most people had to limit or change their physical activity due to the ankle disorder.