Ankle injuries are the single most common sports injury. The ankle is particularly susceptible to sports injuries since the stresses and strains of balancing, checking, turning, and running are all focused there. When diagnosing an ankle injury, it is important to distinguish between injuries to the Achilles tendon and other tendons, dislocations, sprains, and fractures. Tendinitis is typically of gradual onset and is usually precipitated by an increase in training. Pain and swelling is usually localized. Sprains, involving disruption of the medial and/or lateral ligaments, are the most common ankle injury. They are usually caused by a single traumatic event, for example, when the foot rolls over on the outside of the ankle. Fractures are also associated with a single event. They may produce an obvious deformity of the ankle with displacement of the foot in relation to the leg. Swelling associated with tenderness over the bone also indicates a fracture requiring referral to hospital and an X-ray examination. Overuse injuries in the ankle include stress fractures to the distal tibial bone, the tarsals, and the fibula. Stress fractures are associated with a gradual onset of pain accompanied by tenderness, but little swelling or bruising.
Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.