Ankle Injuries

person on top of skateboard on gray pavement

Ankle injuries as well as ankle pains are actually very very common…and the causes of ankle injuries are a lot!

Firstly How Do You Stop Your Ankle From Hurting?

The secret to stopping your ankle from pain or increased pain is first and foremost, a spot-on accurate diagnosis.

With an accurate diagnosis then can you determine the best solution for your ankle pain. The most common sources of ankle pain include

  • traumatic ankle ligament sprains
  • ankle fractures (broken bones)
  • tendinopathies
  • degenerative arthritis and
  • biomechanical disorders

Sprained Ankles

Sprained foot.jpg

The most common ankle injury is a sprained ankle, but ankle pain can more than one (1) causes.

Ankle pain that results from a traumatic injury is often assumed or thought of as sports injuries. But that’s not always the case. You don’t have to be an athlete or even a sportsperson to twist your ankle.

You see, something as simple as walking on an uneven footpath can cause a rolled ankle, resulting in an ankle sprain – that’s enough to cause ankle sprain.

Yeah.

Also, ankle injuries can happen to anyone at any age. Thousands and thousands of people sprain their ankle every day around the world. Imagine that. Even the minutes you took to read this article a few dozen or hundreds of people would have sprained their ankle.

While ankle pain can result from a large number of ankle and foot injuries, the most common ankle injuries are sprains, of which there are two kinds:

They typically involve ligaments and bones in the ankle…but you can also fracture your ankle bone, tear muscles or over-stress a tendon when you sprain your ankle.

High ankle sprains are generally a more significant injury and should be thoroughly checked and investigated by your physiotherapist or orthopedist. Especially so if you can’t perform a  single-leg calf raise within a few weeks of injury.

Ankle Fractures

An ankle fracture happens when there is a break in one or more of the ankle bones.

The most common ankle fractures are avulsion fractures of your distal end of your fibular bone, an addition to your ankle sprain. These are generally less hassle than if you experience a talar dome fracture with your actual ankle joint. Potts fracture refers to a major fracture of your tibia and fibula simultaneously.

Any and all suspected ankle (or non-ankle) fractures need to be accurately diagnosed and professionally managed by your health professional to avoid long-term foot and ankle issues. If an ankle fracture is suspected you will be referred for at least an x-ray and potentially to an orthopaedic surgeon.

Ankle Tendinopathies

While muscle strains are more common in your legs, there are important muscles which converge into tendons that wrap around your ankle which helps to stabilize your ankle and foot and protect them from sprains and allow you to walk and run. These muscles and their tendon provide you with a normal foot arch and avoid flat feet.

Your muscles or tendons can become injured or inflamed as a result of overuse or trauma. The effect of inflammation is called tendonitis. They can also lead to tendon micro and partial tears, completely rupture, or sublux out of place.

Medically tendon injuries are known as tendinopathies.

Tendinopathies/Fasciopathies

Ankle Arthritis

Your ankle pain and dysfunction can also be caused by degenerative conditions such as ankle osteoarthritis.

While arthritis is normally a chronic deterioration of your ankle joint, it is very, very important to slow the progression or worsening of ankle arthritis. Please seek the professional advice of your ankle and foot health practitioner eg physiotherapist or podiatrist.

  • Ankle Arthritis

Biomechanical Conditions

Biomechanical conditions where your foot and ankle do not have normal bone alignment and motion control can cause biomechanical disorders that result in foot deformation, painful weight-bearing and potentially nerve compression.

Here are a few potential conditions related to poor ankle biomechanics:

  • Anterior Ankle Impingement
  • Posterior Ankle Impingement
  • Pes Planus (Flat Feet)
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Common Ankle Injuries

General Information

  • Heel Pain
  • Ankle Pain
  • Foot Pain

Heel Pain

  • Heel Spur

Traumatic Ankle Ligament Injuries

Tendinopathies/Fasciopathies

  • Achilles Tendon Rupture
  • Achilles Tendinopathy
  • FHL Tendinopathy
  • Peroneal Tendinopathy
  • Tibialis Posterior Tendinopathy
  • Plantar Fasciitis

Foot Injuries

  • Bunion
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Morton’s Neuroma

Bone Injuries

  • Ankle Fracture (Broken Ankle)
  • Stress Fracture
  • Stress Fracture Feet
  • Severs Disease
  • Heel Spur
  • Shin Splints

Degenerative Conditions

  • Ankle Arthritis

Soft Tissue Inflammation

  • Retrocalcaneal Bursitis

Biomechanical Conditions

  • Anterior Ankle Impingement
  • Posterior Ankle Impingement
  • Pes Planus (Flat Feet)

Nerve-Related Sources

  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerve
  • Restless Leg Syndrome

Muscle Injuries

  • Cramps
  • Muscle Strain

Systemic Conditions

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Psoriatic Arthritis

General Information

  • Heel Pain
  • Ankle Pain
  • Foot Pain

What Are The Common Causes Of Ankle Injuries?

Ankle injuries are commonly categorized by the kind of tissue you injure eg

  • bone (fracture)
  • ligament (sprained ankle)
  • muscle (strain or tear) or
  • tendon (tendinopathy or tendonitis)

The ankle joint is where three bones meet:

  1. the tibia (shin)
  2. fibula (thin bone outside of the leg) and
  3. talus (ankle bone) above your heel

Your ankle joint is passively stabilized by your ankle ligaments, which are semi-elastic bands of connective tissue. These control and limit the normal motion that occurs in your ankle joint and prevents hyper-extension injuries.

Your ankle muscles and the tendons that they act upon dynamically control, move and protect your ankle joint.

In simple terms, your muscles move your foot and stabilize your ankle joint to avoid you overstretching your ligaments. Unfortunately, when your ankle muscles lose control or are not quick enough, your ankle ligaments are not protected, your ligaments are overstretched resulting in an ankle sprain or ligament rupture.

Ouch… that hurts!

As you can see, there are actually a lot of common ankle injuries – not just sprained ankles. It is important to accurately diagnose exactly what is wrong with your ankle to ensure that both your short and long-term treatment goals are achieved as soon as possible.

Common Treatments for Ankle Pain & Injury

With accurate assessment and early treatment, most ankle and foot injuries respond extremely quickly to physiotherapy allowing you to quickly go back quickly to pain-free movements and normal activities of daily living.

Please ask your physiotherapist or orthopedist for their professional treatment advice.

Ankle Treatment Options

  • Early Injury Treatment
  • Avoid the HARM Factors
  • What to do after a Muscle Strain or Ligament Sprain?
  • Acupuncture and Dry Needling
  • Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment
  • Closed Kinetic Chain Exercises
  • Active Foot Posture Correction Exercises
  • Gait Analysis
  • Biomechanical Analysis
  • Balance Enhancement Exercises
  • Proprioception & Balance Exercises
  • Agility & Sport-Specific Exercises
  • Medications
  • Heel Cups
  • Orthotics
  • Soft Tissue Massage
  • Walking Boot
  • Ankle Strapping
  • Brace or Support
  • Dry Needling
  • Electrotherapy & Local Modalities
  • Heat Packs
  • Joint Mobilisation Techniques
  • Kinesiology Tape
  • Neurodynamics
  • Physiotherapy Instrument Mobilisation (PIM)
  • Prehabilitation
  • Running Analysis
  • Strength Exercises
  • Stretching Exercises
  • Supportive Taping & Strapping
  • TENS Machine
  • Video Analysis