The ankle is a hinge joint between the leg and the foot, and allows up and down movement. The bones of the leg (tibia and fibula) form a slot, and the talus bone of the foot fits between them. The talus is held to the tibia and fibula by strong bands of tissue called ligaments. Each ligament is made of many strands or fibres of a material called collagen, which is extremely strong. The ligament on the inside of the ankle (the deltoid ligament) has two layers; the deepest one is most important. This ligament is mainly torn in association with severe fractures of the ankle bones. Sporting injuries of this ligament are rare. The ligament on the outside of the ankle (lateral ligament) is made up of three separate bands: one at the front (anterior talo-fibular ligament), one in the middle (calcaneo-fibular ligament) and one at the back (posterior talo-fibular ligament). The front and middle bands are the ligaments injured in a sprain.
The tibia and fibula form a joint between themselves just above the ankle. This also has strong ligaments, one at the front and one at the back (tibio-fibular ligaments). The ligament at the front is involved in 10-20% of ankle sprains; this injury is important, as it takes a long time to heal, although it usually heals without the need for surgical treatment.
Most ankle ligament injuries are caused when the foot twists inwards. All of the body’s weight is then placed on the lateral ankle ligaments. The anterior and middle fibres of the ankle stretch or tear a in sprain or strain of the ankle. Occasionally small pieces of bone may be torn off with the ligaments. In a few cases, a twisting force on the ankle may cause other damage. The bones around the ankle may be broken, a piece of the cartilage lining the ankle may be chipped off, ligaments connecting other bones in the foot may be sprained or torn, or the tendons around the ankle may be damaged.
Today, we leave the sprain injury aside trying to explain you in details the tearing process of the ankle ligament. So what do you have to know about the torn ligament in the ankle?
A severe sprain involves a tearing of the ligaments. Unattended torn ligaments may not heal properly and may lead to arthritis, so you should seek medical attention for a severe sprain. But some specific symptoms usually appear telling you that you definitely have torn ligament in the ankle. Here is some basic information about each of them:
Pain The immediate symptom of a torn ligament in the ankle is pain. It can be hard to judge by the amount of pain whether the patient has a mild sprain or extreme ligament tear. If she has had previous sprains, she can use them to compare the amount of pain.
Swelling A torn ligament causes interior bleeding which makes the ankle swell and feel tender to the touch. More swelling generally indicates more damage.
Bruising The interior bleeding which causes swelling also discolors the ankle joint. a wider area of bruising usually means more tearing.
Stiffness It is difficult to move a sprained ankle or place weight on it. Any movement or weight-bearing effort will cause more pain.
Instability If ankle ligaments are severely torn, the ankle is not only swollen and stiff, it feels unstable, making the patient feel that even if he could bear the pain of standing, he would fall.
What to do if having torn ankle ligament?
Of course, the very first thing you need to do is to go to the doctor. Your GP will send you to the right specialist and probably will give you an X-ray check recommendation. When diagnosed with torn ligament in the ankle, you can opt for some of the following treatment types:
- Surgery with a special rehabilitation afterwards
- Painkillers and rehabilitation if you are a sportsman
- Supplements and a diet, if your pain and diagnose is caused by a chronic condition concerning joints like arthritis
- Performing special exercises under a medical observation