Ankle Injuries

Ankle Injuries: The Basics

The ankle is a very important part of the anatomy. It is the joint connecting the foot to the leg, and it allows for the movements involved in walking, running, and jumping. It is a complex joint, because rather than simply moving back and forth like the elbow, it can also pivot from side to side. Because the ankle is used in practically all of the body’s forward propelling movements, it is often the target of injuries, especially in in sports. There are several types of injuries that can occur in the ankle, some of which are more serious than others. Listed below are some of the most common injuries incurred.

take care of injured ankles and get back into the game faster

Ankle Sprains

Sprains are the most common type of ankle injuries. They usually occur when the foot has an unstable landing that causes the ankle to roll either to the left or right. This causes damage to the muscles and ligaments surrounding the ankle, and can be very painful. Signs of an ankle sprain are similar to the signs of an ankle fracture, so if you have sprained your ankle, make sure to see a doctor so that it can be x-rayed and diagnosed. If the ankle is sprained, the recovery time can vary greatly, depending on the severity of the injury. For the best attempt at recovery, you should follow these tips:

  • Don’t put weight on the ankle, and keep it elevated until you are seen by a doctor and they tell you otherwise.
  • Apply a bag of ice (wrapped in a small towel) for 15 minutes per hour to the affected ankle.
  • When you begin to start putting weight on the joint, wrap it with an elastic bandage, or wear an ankle brace for added stability.

Ankle Fracture

Typically a more severe injury than a sprain, a fracture happens when one of both of the leg bones (the tibia and fibula) or the talus of the foot are broken, near the ankle joint. This will usually be diagnosed with an x-ray, though in some cases, the break is obviously seen before an x-ray needs to be taken. In severe cases, usually involving multiple broken bones, surgery will be done to stabilize the ankle, however, if the fracture isn’t too bad then a cast or brace may be worn until the bone can heal on its own. Physical therapy is often used to rehabilitate an ankle after a fracture.

Other Ankle Injuries

There are several other types of ankle injuries because there are so many ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the surrounding area. Strains occur when muscles and/or tendons are stretched out. The peroneal tendons run along the outer ankle and are responsible for stabilization, so they are often injured. Peroneal tendon subluxation refers to these tendons being partially dislocated, and must be corrected with surgery. Torn and ruptured tendons also usually require surgery.

If you feel that you have seriously hurt your ankle, it is best to visit an ankle specialist, or even a sports medicine doctor. General practitioners don’t specialize in the ankle, and since it is such a complex joint, they may misdiagnose a bigger problem as a sprain. After sustaining an injury and seeing a doctor, make sure to get plenty of rest, and slowly work to build up stability in that ankle to prevent future injuries!

About the Author: Emma Green is passionate about health and wellness, and often writes for Feel free to contact her with any questions on twitter @emmalimegreen.

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