Ankle pain is often caused by an injury like a sprain or a medical condition like arthritis. The ankle is composed of two joints, the true ankle joint, and the subtalar joint.
The true ankle joint is composed of three bones, the tibia, which forms the medial (inside) portion of the ankle; the fibular, which forms the lateral (outside) portion of the ankle; and the talus underneath. The true ankle joint allows for the up and down motion of the foot.
The subtalar joint is under the true ankle joint and consists of the talus on top and the calcaneus on the bottom. The subtalar joint allows for the side-to-side movement of the foot.
Common Ankle Injuries and Conditions Injuries
Achilles tendonitis is a common injury among athletes, particularly runners. The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscle to the heel. It is the largest tendon in the body. Since the Achilles tendon is used for numerous day-to-day activities, such as walking, running, climbing, and jumping, it is susceptible to injury and inflammation (Achilles tendonitis).
Learn More About Achilles Tendonitis
Ankle arthritis is a degenerative condition (also known as osteoarthritis) that causes pain, stiffness, and disability to the ankles. Over time, the protective cartilage begins to wear away, eventually causing the bones to rub against each other. Ankle arthritis can be just as disabling as hip arthritis, but it is not as well-known as other types of arthritis.
An ankle fracture is a common sports injury. It is often caused by the ankle rolling inward or outward. A fracture is a partial or complete break in a bone.
An ankle fracture can range in severity from an avulsion injury where small pieces of bone have been pulled off to a more severe shattering-type break of the tibia and fibula.
An ankle fracture requires special care and early diagnosis. The sooner an ankle fracture is taken care of, the sooner you can get back in action!
Achilles Tendon Rupture
An Achilles tendon rupture is a complete or partial tear that occurs when the tendon is stretched beyond its capacity. A tendon is a band of tissue that connects a muscle to a bone. The Achilles tendon runs down the back of the lower leg and connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Also called the “heel cord,” the Achilles tendon facilitates walking by helping raise the heel off the ground.
Forceful jumping, pivoting, or sudden accelerations of running can overstretch the tendon and cause a tear. An injury to the tendon can also result from falling or tripping.
An ankle strain results from a stretched or torn muscle or tendon. The tendon is the thick muscle that connects to your bone. A strain can be anywhere from minor to severe. A severe strain can result in a muscle tear.
An ankle sprain occurs when one or more of the ligaments in the ankle is injured. Some ankle sprains are worse than others.
The severity of an ankle sprain depends upon the damage to the ligament. The ligament can be stretched, partially torn, or completely torn. Multiple ligaments can also be damaged. An ankle sprain is not the same as a strain. An ankle sprain affects your muscles; an ankle sprain impacts your ligaments.
A ligament is a band of tissues, kind of like rubber bands. They connect your bones and bind the joints together. An ankle sprain occurs when there is an injury to the lateral ligamentous complex. The lateral ligamentous complex is composed of two ligaments, the anterior talofibular and the calcaneofibular ligaments. Both of these ligaments support the ankle.