Ankle Injuries: When I Should I Visit A Doctor?

January 15th, 2019 Becki Andrus

Our feet can be found at the base of our legs, and they provide the foundation from which we stand and move. They perform this critical function during our daily living while working in coordination with our ankles, which are the joints that are located directly above our feet

The ankle itself consists of two joints – the ankle joint, and the subtalar joint. The ankle joint enables us to move our feet up and down, and it consists of several bones – the shin bone (tibia), and the fibula, which is adjacent to the shin bone. Both bones of the foot (talus and calcaneus) connect at the subtalar joint, which is located just below the ankle joint. The subtalar joint provides you with the ability to move your foot from side-to-side. You also have a large number of ligaments that surround the ankle and subtalar joints. These ligaments keep the bones of the leg attached to each other and also to bones of the foot.

Many of the most common health issues associated with the ankle take place as a result of sports or recreational activities,  which is also true for a number of other vital joints in your body. However, anyone can have an incident occur with their ankle at any time without being involved in a sports activity. For example, you could be walking quickly and accidentally step on an object that causes you to turn your ankle.

There are multiple injuries that can also occur due to a problem with your bone, tendons, or ligaments, and it has been estimated that more than 1 million people visit the emergency room annually due to issues with their ankles. The majority of injuries consist of either sprains, strains, or fractures.

These issues can develop due to a number of scenarios including tripping, falling, landing walking on surfaces that are not level, landing uncomfortably after jumping, twisting your ankle, rotating your ankle, or simply not wearing shoes that properly conform to your feet.


It has also been estimated that 25,000 people sprain an ankle every day in the US.  The ligaments that keep your ankle stable are designed to maintain a specific range of movement. But they can become impacted by an excessive movement that stretches further than the normal range of motion. This can create a tear or rupture in the fibers that make up the ligament. The stretching of your ligaments can take place by rolling or turning your ankle in an abnormal way. This can be done simply by walking quickly or moving on an uneven surface. However, it can also occur as the result of a fall, by landing awkwardly on your foot or having someone else step on your foot. This would usually happen during participation in a sporting event.


A strain is similar to a sprain, in that it involves stretching a muscle or tendon beyond the normal range of motion that your ankle is designed to function with. This can cause a muscle pull or possibly a tear if the stretch occurs too abruptly. This scenario might take place if you are running or jumping, and participation in various sports or recreational activities can certainly cause this to occur. If you are wearing footwear that does not fit your foot properly, you also place yourself at risk for a strain to take place.


A fracture takes place if there is a break in your bones, and once again sports or related recreational activities can often be the cause of a broken ankle. Some ankle fractures are more serious than others, depending upon the degree to which you have broken your bone. The symptoms of a fracture are often actually very comparable to the common indications that you are dealing with a sprain. But if you are experiencing throbbing pain that you believe to be more severe than what you would feel with a sprain, then it is wise to consult a physician. This is also true if your pain becomes worse with any activity, or if your ankle is swollen or bruised. If you are unable to walk or place weight on your ankle, then it is also a good idea to see a doctor. This is also true if you are unable to walk or place any weight on your ankle joint.

Other Ankle Injuries

In some cases, your pain can be the result of an inflammation in your tendon which is also referred to as tendonitis. If this is what is causing your issue, you might be dealing with pain that is located on the outer portion of your ankle, and have difficulty with stability in your ankle. There are also several forms of arthritis can be the cause of ankle issues. This includes gout, which is a form of arthritis that can create pain and swelling.

In addition to the more common health issues that have already been discussed, here is a list of other injuries that can occur with your ankle:

If you have an injury with your ankle, it is highly recommended that you rest it, which will help you avoid placing your weight on it. You should also elevate it, which will also reduce the swelling. You can also use ice, which will not only reduce the swelling but will also ease your pain.

However, if you are dealing with pain and swelling in your ankle to the point that you believe you may have experienced a sprain, strain or especially a fracture, it is recommended that you contact a physician. This is certainly true if you are facing symptoms that are more severe because that could be an indication of more serious damage to your ligament or your bone or one of your bones. If you are having difficulty with your ankle and choose not to visit a doctor, then you place yourself at risk of developing chronic ankle pain or creating instability with your joint that could cause long-term issues.

If you are experiencing any of these scenarios, the highly-trained knee specialists at Orthopedic Associates are always available to assist you. We can offer you the convenience of having our In-house surgery and physical therapy center in one facility, along with on-call availability 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

Our specialists at Orthopedic Associates treat a wide range of ankle conditions, including:

  • Accessory Navicular
  • Achilles Tendon Injuries
  • Ankle Sprains
  • Charcot’s Neuroarthropathy (CN)
  • Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain
  • Clubfoot (Talipes Equinovarus)
  • Fracture of the Talus
  • Haglund’s Deformity (Retrocalcaneal Bursitis)
  • High Ankle Sprain (Syndesmosis Ligament Injury)
  • Navicular Stress Fracture
  • Osteochondral Injuries of the Talus
  • Peroneal Tendon Tears
  • Pilon Fractures
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Ankle
  • Stress Fractures of the Ankle
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome (Posterior Tibial Neuralgia)
  • Tibial Fractures

Our orthopedics are highly experienced in performing multiple types of treatments and surgeries for the ankle including:

  • Achilles Tendon Lengthening
  • Anesthesia
  • Ankle Fracture/Fusion
  • Ankle Replacement
  • Arthroscopic Articular Cartilage Repair (Ankle)
  • Arthroscopy of the Ankle
  • Cartilage Repair
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
  • Debridement of the Achilles Tendon
  • Fixation for Ankle Syndesmosis
  • Lateral Ankle Ligament Reconstruction
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Multimodal Anesthesia and Pain Control
  • Nerve Conduction Study (NCS)
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan
  • Radiofrequency Treatment for Achilles Tendinosis
  • Resection of Haglund’s Deformity
  • Surgery for Achilles Tendon Rupture
  • Talar Fracture Fixation (Open Reduction and Internal Fixation)
  • Tibiotalocalcaneal Fusion (with Intramedullary Rod)
  • Tendon Transfer/Repair
  • Total Ankle Joint Replacement



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