Information for Patients
Ankle Injuries and Disorders
Your ankle bone and the ends of your two lower leg bones make up the ankle joint. Your ligaments, which connect bones to one another, stabilize and support it. Your muscles and tendons move it.
The most common ankle problems are sprains and fractures. A sprain is an injury to the ligaments. It may take a few weeks to many months to heal completely. A fracture is a break in a bone. You can also injure other parts of the ankle such as tendons, which join muscles to bone, and cartilage, which cushions your joints. Ankle sprains and fractures are common sports injuries.
Foot Injuries and Disorders
Each of your feet has 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments. No wonder a lot of things can go wrong. Here are a few common problems:
- Bunions - hard, painful bumps on the big toe joint
- Corns and calluses - thickened skin from friction or pressure
- Plantar warts - warts on the soles of your feet
- Fallen arches - also called flat feet
Ill-fitting shoes often cause these problems. Aging and being overweight also increase your chances of having foot problems.
Sprains and Strains
A sprain is a stretched or torn ligament. Ligaments are tissues that connect bones at a joint. Falling, twisting, or getting hit can all cause a sprain. Ankle and wrist sprains are common. Symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, and being unable to move your joint. You might feel a pop or tear when the injury happens.
A strain is a stretched or torn muscle or tendon. Tendons are tissues that connect muscle to bone. Twisting or pulling these tissues can cause a strain. Strains can happen suddenly or develop over time. Back and hamstring muscle strains are common. Many people get strains playing sports. Symptoms include pain, muscle spasms, swelling, and trouble moving the muscle.
At first, treatment of both sprains and strains usually involves resting the injured area, icing it, wearing a bandage or device that compresses the area, and medicines. Later treatment might include exercise and physical therapy.
NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases