Although it is typically referred to as a single joint, the ankle is actually two joints:
The true ankle joint, which is composed of three bones:
• the tibia, the larger and stronger of the two lower leg bones, which forms the inside part of the of the ankle
• the fibula, the smaller bone of the lower leg, which forms the outside part of the ankle
• the talus, a small bone between the tibia and fibula and the calcaneus, or heel bone.
The ends of the bones are covered by articular cartilage. The space in the joint is lined with a thin membrane called the synovium, which cushions the joint and secretes a lubricating fluid, called synovial fluid.
Several strong bands of connective tissue, called ligaments, hold the bones of the ankles together. A number of tendons run through the ankle, attaching muscles of the lower leg to the bones of the foot and ankle.
Ankle Pain Causes
Here is what you need to know about sprained ankles and some other common ankle injuries.
The most common ankle injury, sprains occur when the ligaments that normally support the ankle become stretched beyond their normal range. This happens when the foot twists, turns or rolls as a result of fall or misstep. Doctors grade sprains on a scale of one to three, based on the severity of the damage, with one representing slight stretching and some damage to the ligament fibers and three representing a complete tear of the ligament.
• Ankle fractures. A fractured, or broken, ankle may include a break in one of the bones that make up the ankle, or it could consist of several breaks in different bones. An ankle fracture can occur if you twist or roll your ankle while walking, running, going up or down stairs or while playing sports, such as sliding into base during baseball. It can also result from tripping or falling or the impact of a car accident. A broken ankle can cause the same symptoms as a sprained ankle – severe pain, swelling, bruising, tenderness to the touch, or deformed appearance – so it can be hard to distinguish between the two.In some cases a fracture occurs because a ligament tears and pulls a piece of bone with it. This is called an avulsion fracture.If you have an ankle injury, it’s important to see a doctor who can X-ray the ankle to see if it is broken or sprained.
Ways to Prevent Ankle Pain and Get Around
Whether you have an acute injury or chronic arthritis, medications don’t always relieve pain completely. And if you have surgery, you’ll likely need some help getting around while you heal. At times when you need extra help with pain relief or mobility, here are some techniques and devices worth trying.
• Hot and cold
• Ankle Braces
• Electrical Stimulation
• Weight Loss