Ankle injuries are the bane of the sportsman’s life. But you don’t have to be involved in a high-impact sporting session to suffer from a debilitating ankle injury. A torn ligament, sprains, strains and fractures can happen in day-to-day life. Stepping awkwardly on some unfortunately placed Lego or losing your balance and turning your ankle on the stairs can result in a strain or sprain.
What Are The Most Common Ankle Injuries?
The ankle is a relatively small joint which carries the body’s entire weight, so it is no wonder over half of all ankle injuries occur during athletic activities.
Specific tissue damage defines the particular ankle injury. The ankle itself is a complex moving part comprised of bones, tendons and ligaments. Each of these parts are susceptible to damage from overuse, pulling or impact damage.
A fracture would describe a break in one of the bones – the tibia, fibula or talus.
A sprained ligament would relate to a tear in the strong, elastic fibres that make up the ligament. A small tear would be uncomfortable, but a complete rupture would be very painful.
A tendon, being the connective tissue between the muscle and the bones, can also suffer a strain if it pulled or stretched too far. The peroneal tendons which support the ankle can become inflamed or suffer microscopic tears due to constant overuse.
Is It a Torn Ligament Or a Fracture?
The sudden shooting pain in your ankle or lower leg, while you’re out on the field, could be the result of a number of problems. While most milder ankle injuries can be treated with rest and a well-placed ice pack, others need more immediate attention.
A torn ligament can feel very much like a fracture in the moment. Either way, a qualified physician should treat intense pain, swelling and worsening symptoms.
Symptoms of a broken or fractured ankle include severe, immediate pain, swelling, bruising, deformity in the area and the inability to place any weight on the damaged leg.
The symptoms of a torn ligament are much the same and include immediate pain, inflammation and bruising. The ligament may have suffered a small tear which would generally involve mild pain and difficulty walking.
A ruptured or severely torn ligament would make it impossible to walk, perhaps include some looseness in the joint and the feeling of instability of the affected limb.
Swelling of the ankle joint occurs due to bleeding from the torn ligament, which results in tenderness and often discolouration. The more swelling, the greater the damage. And more bruising and discolouration indicates more tearing of the ligament.
Talk to Your Sports Medicine Physician
It’s very often difficult to know the difference between a mild sprain and a fractured ankle bone. One may need rest and the other surgery. If you have suffered damage to your ankle and you suspect a torn ligament, get yourself over to a qualified orthopaedic surgeon who can assess the damage for you.
For more information talk to our friendly specialist today.