Ankle Joint Injury

The foot is made up of several joints which help the foot maintain balance and movement. Joints are made up of ligaments which hold the bones together and allow for a range of motion. The tendons allow the muscles to pull at adjacent bones, which is what sets the joints in movement. The joints structure is also protected by the surrounding cartilage.

Tendons and ligaments are both made up of fibrous connective tissue. However, despite their similarities in composition, their function in the human body differs from one another.

Ligaments appear as criss cross bands that attach bone to bone and help stabilize joints. They are often compared to a rope with a series of tough, intertwined cords that bind the bones. Although they have some elastic fibers like that of a tendon, ligaments are not designed for joint movement beyond their capacity.

On the other hand, tendons, which are located at both ends of a muscle, attach the muscle to the bone. As a muscle contracts, the attached tendon pulls the bone into movement. At the same time, these soft tissues making up the tendon help absorb some of the impact from the muscles springing into action. Tendons are found throughout the body but the Achilles tendon is the largest. It attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone.

An ankle joint injury may be due to the soft tissues of a ligament or tendon stretching beyond their capacity, better known as an ankle sprain or strain. However, there are also cases where aging, irritation or overuse plays a huge role in the development of other sources of joint pain, including another tendon condition known as tendonitis.


Soft-tissue injuries fall into two basic categories – acute injuries and overuse injuries.

Acute injuries are caused by a sudden trauma, such as a fall, twist, or blow to the body. Examples of acute injuries include sprains, strains, and contusions.

Overuse injuries occur gradually over time, when an athletic or other activity is repeated so often, areas of the body do not have enough time to heal between occurrences. Tendonitis is a common injury that can also be a result of the natural aging process. Tendons weaken as we age, becoming more prone to stress and injury.


Symptoms of a sprain or tendon injury include:

  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Discoloration of the skin, especially bruising

Potential Treatments

Tendons and ligaments are essential to proper body mechanics. You need to recognize tendon and ligament injuries before they become major injuries.

Your doctor will carefully evaluate your condition and recommend steps for your fast recovery. There will also be imaging tests to further your evaluation. Your healthcare provider may also recommend splints or braces. Occupational therapy can help you regain motion and strength of the injured area.

Make an appointment with one of our listed medical professionals. Doctors are ready to assist you in your treatment.

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