The Ankle Anatomy
Ankle anatomy and physiology are very complex, with a variety of connecting ligaments, tendons, muscles and bones. The ankle, or talocrural region, is the joint located at the point where the shinbone (tibia) and the outer bone running from the knee to the ankle (fibula) meet the talus (anklebone), the large bone in the ankle that articulates with the tibia of the leg and the calcaneum and navicular bone of the foot.
The epiphysis, a point where the ends of fibula and tibia are joined, is lined with a smooth cartilage that is 3 mm thick. Sealed fluid sacs (bursa) positioned between the bones of the ankle provide support and cushion to the ankle.
The elastic ligaments radiate to the talus to each of the tibia, fibula and calcaneus. There are 13 tendons that cross the ankle and aid in performing various activities, with the large Achilles tendon being the most important tendon that facilitates the movements of the ankle, foot and toes. The muscles of the foot are either intrinsic or extrinsic. The intrinsic muscles are located within the foot, whereas extrinsic muscles are located outside the foot.
Majority Of Injuries Involving The Ankle And Its Related Structures
The majority of injuries involving the ankle and its related structures (ligaments, tendons and muscles) include sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures.
- Sprain – Occurs when a ligament in the ankle area is stretched beyond its normal range of motion. It is characterized by microscopic or complete tears in the delicate fibers that comprise the ligament.
- Strain – Is a term that describes the damage to the muscles of the foot as a result of being stretched or pulled too far.
- Dislocation – Refers to a forceful separation of tibia/fibula and talus.
- Fracture – Refers to a break in one or more bones of the ankle.
- Ruptures – In the Achilles tendon caused by a sudden explosive motion or muscle overuse can also injure your ankle.
Who Can Get Ankle Injuries?
Athletes are more susceptible to ankle injures than other people because of the additional twisting forces known as torque, which are generated through sport activities. The manner and the degree to which the foot strikes the ground also put pressure on the ankle. Walking or running on uneven surfaces, wearing faulty footwear, landing awkwardly after a jump, and tripping can also cause ankle injuries in athletes.
Why An Ankle Injury Needs To Be Treated Right Away?
If you have an ankle injury that hinders your performance, limits your movement or weight-bearing, or produces some inflammation or any feelings of instability, then you should visit your nearest physiotherapy center as early as possible for an assessment. This is important not just for preventing problems associated with a particular injury, but is also vital for a speedy recovery from this injury.
A Perth Physiotherapy Expert in Happy Physio, will design you a specialized training program comprising of stretching exercises such as ankle stretches and lower-leg pulls, and range-of-motion exercises such as planter flexion and dorsiflexion. He or she will encourage you to perform isometric strengthening exercises under his or her supervision which will strengthen the muscles around your ankle. Once your ankle gets used to those exercises, your Expert Physiotherapist will increase the number of repetitions so that your ankle can heal fast and you return to your everyday activities in a short span of time.