As a physiotherapist, I frequently treat individuals who have experienced ankle injuries. The ankle joint is vulnerable to various types of injuries due to its complex structure and the significant role it plays in supporting our body weight and facilitating movement. In this article, we will explore the most common causes of ankle injuries.
- Sprained Ankle: An ankle sprain is one of the most prevalent ankle injuries. It occurs when the ligaments that support the ankle joint are stretched or torn, usually as a result of an awkward or sudden movement. Common causes of ankle sprains include rolling or twisting the ankle during physical activities, landing improperly after a jump, or stepping on an uneven surface. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty bearing weight on the affected ankle.
- Achilles Tendonitis: Achilles tendonitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the back of the heel bone. Overuse or repetitive activities that strain the tendon, such as running or jumping, can lead to micro-tears and inflammation. Individuals with Achilles tendonitis often experience pain, stiffness, and swelling in the back of the ankle, especially during or after physical activity.
- Fractures: Ankle fractures involve a break in one or more bones of the ankle joint. Fractures can occur due to traumatic incidents like falls, sports injuries, or motor vehicle accidents. Common types of ankle fractures include lateral malleolus fractures (involving the fibula bone), medial malleolus fractures (involving the tibia bone), or bimalleolar fractures (involving both bones). Symptoms typically include severe pain, swelling, deformity, and difficulty bearing weight on the affected ankle.
- Achilles Tendon Tears: An Achilles tendon tear refers to a complete or partial rupture of the Achilles tendon. This injury is often associated with a sudden and forceful movement, such as pushing off forcefully to sprint or jumping. Individuals with an Achilles tendon tear may report a popping sound at the time of injury, severe pain in the back of the ankle, swelling, and difficulty or inability to move the ankle or push off with the affected leg.
- Syndesmotic (High Ankle) Sprain: A syndesmotic sprain, also known as a high ankle sprain, occurs when there is damage to the ligaments that connect the tibia and fibula bones above the ankle joint. This type of sprain is commonly seen in sports that involve twisting or excessive rotational forces, such as football or skiing. Symptoms may include pain and swelling above the ankle, difficulty walking or bearing weight, and a feeling of instability.
It’s important to note that ankle injuries can vary in severity, ranging from mild sprains to more complex fractures or tears. Seeking a proper diagnosis and treatment from a physiotherapist (if you are interested, we offer physiotherapy in Crawley) or a qualified healthcare professional is crucial for an accurate assessment and appropriate management of ankle injuries. Treatment may include rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE), exercises to restore strength and flexibility, manual therapy techniques, bracing or taping, and gradual return to activities or sports.
Note: This article was written with the help of AI technology and therefore may include incorrect information and discrepancies.