The ankle is one of the most versatile joint complexes in the body. It is specifically built for weight bearing, mobility, adaptability, and stability. The foot and ankle allow us the ability to walk, stand, run, jump, and serve as our connection to the ground. The ankle must be able to withstand the stress of body weight and also be able to adapt to and react quickly to changes in the environment and the walking surface.
Your ankle ligaments have many important tasks:
- Stabilize your ankle joint.
- Stop your ankle from moving in any unsafe or unnatural directions.
- Keep the bones in the proper position.
- Connect the bones of your foot with your lower leg.
- Absorb shock when your foot strikes a surface.
There are three sets of ligaments within your ankle:
- Medial ligaments – Also known as ‘deltoid ligaments’; these ligaments begin at the medial malleolus (the end of the tibia, which forms the bump on the inside of your ankle). The four ligaments fan out to connect to the talus, calcaneus, and navicular bones.
- Lateral ligaments – The lateral ligaments begin at the lateral malleolus (the end of the fibula, which forms the bump on the outside of the ankle). Additionally, the three ligaments connect to the talus and calcaneus.
- Syndesmotic ligaments – This set of four ligaments connects the tibia and fibula.
An avulsion fracture occurs when a tendon or ligament fractures off a piece of the bone to which it is attached. An ankle avulsion fracture is often caused by a twisting motion and commonly affects the lower ends of the tibia or fibula, areas called the medial and lateral malleolus.
Ankle injuries resulting in an avulsion fracture frequently happen during sudden movements and changes in direction. This type of fracture can generally happen wherever a tendon or ligament is attached to the bone, but they most commonly affect ankles, elbows, and joints around the pelvis, especially the hips.