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Perhaps one of the most common injuries we will all encounter in our lives and caused when the foot twists, the foot pointing downwards and the sole inwards, the full force of the body's movement is on the anterior talofibular ligament! This twisting of the foot can result in the tearing of the talofibular fibres that we commonly call a sprain. In more severe injury, other ligaments may also be torn or sprained.

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  • The ankle is so painful you cannot bear any weight on it
  • Your ankle seems deformed
  • Your skin over the ankle is broke
  • Your injury was from by a severe force such as a fall from a height or a blow from a massive object
  • Your pain and swelling seem to get worse rather than better over the first 3-4 days (the bruising often gets worse for a week or more before it starts to fade)

Your GP or perhaps a physiotherapist will examine your ankle to: -

  • See anything that makes you more liable to ankle instability than average
  • Look for any sign that you have some other problem around your ankle, such as damage to the joint surface.
  • See if your legaments are abnormally weak by stretching your ankle in various directions.

Damage to the bones of your ankle will usually be seen following an x-ray.

The cause of most ankle ligament injuries are foot twists

A consequence of ankle instability is the dysfunction of proprioceptive nerves. Retraining these nerves with a physiotherapy programme through various activities and exercises to respond to movements of the ankle is a good first step. Muscles around the ankle will strengthen through training, and you will be shown exercises to stretch stiff Achilles tendons. A moulded insole may also be required if your foot shape makes you prone to extra stress on the ankle ligaments. Physio will make your ankle much more comfortable and stable.

However, in some people problems continue, and the opinion of an orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon would be helpful. The surgeon may suggest an exploratory operation on your ankle (arthroscopy) to check on the state of the joint. If the diagnoses is a weakness of the ankle ligaments, further surgery may be required.

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