The true ankle joint is made up of three bones: the tibia or shin bone, which makes up the interior or medial part of the ankle; the fibula, which is the thinner bone that runs next to the shin bone and forms the lateral or outside part of the ankle; and the talus, which is the foot bone that is positioned above the heel bone. All of this work together to facilitate the up-and-down movement of one’s foot.
Meanwhile, the subtalar joint is located beneath the true ankle joint and is made up of the talus (the bone in the lower part of the ankle) and the calcaneus (the heel bone). The connection of these two bones enables the foot to move in a sideward motion.
Together with surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons, the ankle enables an individual to walk, jump and run.
Sprained Ankle – This injury occurs when one accidentally rolls, turns, or twists his or her ankle beyond its limit. When this happens, the ligaments that hold the ankle bones together stretch beyond their limit and eventually tear, causing an ankle ligament tear.
Fractured Ankle – Also known as a broken ankle, a fractured ankle develops when one or more bones that make up the ankle joint are cracked or broken. Common causes of fractured ankles are a hard fall, misstep, or direct and strong trauma from an accident. This condition is characterised by a small crack in one’s bones or a serious break that punctures the skin.
Tendinitis – This occurs when the tendon in the ankle is inflamed due to repetitive movement and overuse. Other causes may include rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and gout, or injuries.
Ankle Arthritis – Arthritis of the ankle occurs when cartilage in the ankle joint breaks down due to degeneration. It can be caused by previous injury and trauma, or diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and infection.
Fortunately, there are a wide range of treatment options for ankle ligament tears in Singapore and other ankle conditions:
R.I.C.E. – An initial management plan before seeking medical attention, this includes resting the area, applying ice or a cold compress on the injured area, compression to minimise swelling, and elevating the ankle above heart level during the night time.
Medication – Over-the-counter and/or prescription medications may be taken to relieve the pain and swelling caused by certain ankle conditions.
Orthopaedic Devices – A brace can be wrapped around the ankle of the foot to provide support. A cane can also absorb a percentage of an individual’s body weight and remove pressure from the ankle.
Physiotherapy – Doctors and physiotherapists may recommend tailored exercises in order to improve the range of the patient’s ankle movement, flexibility, stability, and strength.
Surgery – If all primary treatments fail to heal the injury or alleviate the pain, or if the injury was severe from the start, ankle arthroscopy in Singapore and other kinds of surgical treatments may be recommended.
Led by Dr Alan Cheung, the International Orthopaedic Clinic specialises in the surgical treatment of various foot and ankle conditions. Call 6253 7111 for more information.