It doesn’t require much to twist or sprain your ankle. A simple misstep off a curb, a slip in high heels, a direct blow while playing a sport, or pushing your fatigued body too far can all cause your ankle to move too far or the wrong way. When this happens, the tendons of the muscles that route through your ankle to insert in your foot, or the ligaments that hold your bones together, can be stretched, partially torn, or completely ruptured. Not seeking out professional treatment immediately can lead to chronic ankle problems or permanent disability in more extreme cases.
Let’s take a quick look at ankle anatomy. Your tibia and fibula, or leg bone, meets up with your talus, which sits on top of your heel bone, calcaneus, to make up the bones of your ankle joint. These bones are subsequently held together by a multitude of ligaments and allow for the passage of tendons alongside them. The two main groups of ligaments on the outside (lateral) ankle and inside (medial) ankle keep the ankle in proper alignment with the rest of your body. The tendons allow for all the movements of your foot at the ankle joint. When traumatic or excessive motion is created in this area, there is the possibility of bones to fracture or ligaments to pull pieces of bone off. Bones often withstand the excessive stress and it is the ligaments or tendons that become damaged.
If you suspect ankle injury, please call us at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists. Physical exam and x-rays of your feet can often rule out the most serious of problems. Occasionally, MRI or CT scans are needed to get a more accurate picture of which specifics ligaments or the extent they have been injured. In the more serious injuries where ligaments or tendons are severely torn or completely ruptured, surgery may be indicated to heal the injury. Partial tears or minimal injury to ligaments often respond to early RICE therapy. Any type of ligament or tendon injury requires early and frequent physical therapy. Often times you will start this therapy at home, thus making it critical that you follow your doctors instructions. Proper treatment can keep your ankles healthy and avoid problems later on.
Until next time, keep those ankles happy and healthy, Austin!