Ankle Joint Injuries & Sprains
A sprain is an injury to ankle ligaments - the structures responsible for holding the ankle in the appropriate alignment. Depending on the position of the foot and the motion of the body, different ligaments may be injured. The most commonly affected ligaments are those on the outside or lateral aspect of the ankle. The typical mechanism by which these occur is rolling the ankle with the foot pointed down and inward. The severity of the ankle sprain is dictated by multiple factors, the most important of which is the energy imparted by the injury to the ankle.
These are often associated with instability of the ankle such as recurrent sprains. If left untreated, these injuries, known as osteochondral lesions of the talus or osteochondral defects, can lead to persistent pain and even progress into arthritis. These injuries will typically be associated with persistent ankle pain, particularly with impact activities. Swelling with activity, and even popping or grinding when moving the ankle are common.
These injuries are typically diagnosed by MRI. Sometimes surgery is required. This typically consists of removing the injured surface and promoting a healing response or even repairing the damaged portion of the joint surface with graft material. Seeking treatment with an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon specialist is advisable when this type of problem is suspected.