What is a twisted ankle?

Most of us have suffered a twisted ankle from time to time, but what exactly is it?

Think about what the ankle does and the range of movements you have in your foot and you have some idea of how complicated the ankle itself really is. You have your two lower leg bones coming down to meet the ankle bones.

There are several ligaments involved. These are like elastic bands linking bones together, allowing some movement but stopping everything falling apart.

The twisted ankle injury usually occurs when the ligament to front, connecting the rear lower leg bone (the fibula) to the ankle bones, becomes twisted or torn.

This is usually done when walking or running when the foot is turned inwards, underneath the leg. Weight is put on the outside of the foot, pressing through the little toe and pushing the ankle outwards. A slip off a kerb, a trip or even just a hasty step can cause this. Sports people landing incorrectly or off balance often receive these injuries.

In itself this can be very painful at the time. How severe the injury is will sometimes be shown by the extent and duration of the pain. There may also be swelling.

More serious injuries can occur if more weight is put on the misplaced ankle or if a car or other major trauma is involved. Sports clashes may also give more extensive problems. These injuries involve the twisting or tearing of other ligaments and will leave the ankle even weaker, with more time needed to recover.

The ankle once weakened with this injury is prone to a repeat.

Orthopedic doctors treat more of these types of injury than anything else and 90% are the basic twisting inwards kind which results in pain to the outside of the ankle.