Ankle Sprains and Instability
Sprained ankles are very common. Patients experience acute pain as well as bruising and swelling. The ankle may also feel weak and unstable.
Treatment: Most ligament injuries can be treated non-operatively with RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). Patients may also wear a walking boot for three or four weeks followed by physiotherapy. More severe cases may require keyhole surgery.
These involve damage to the articular surface of the knee. Patients experience pain, swelling, clicking, locking and giving way in the ankle joint.
Treatment: Mild cases can be treated with physiotherapy. More severe cases may require keyhole surgery.
Footballer’s Ankle (anterior impingement)
This occurs when the two bones at the front of the ankle knock together. It is common among patients who do sports that involve kicking or dancing. Patients experience pain at the front of their ankle joint and restricted movement.
Treatment: Most patients will have a trial of non-operative therapy to try and break down any scar tissue at the front of the ankle joint. If this is not successful, then keyhole surgery may be required.
This occurs when the soft tissue and/or bones at the back of the ankle are pinched between the heel bone and the back of the shin bone. Patients experience pain, clicking and catching at the back of the ankle joint.
Treatment: Physiotherapy will be offered first to try and break down any soft tissue. However, in some cases, arthroscopic surgery may be required.
Ankle osteoarthritis can occur as a result of past injuries, age, genetics or any combination of these. Patients experience pain, swelling, stiffness, instability and difficulty moving.
Treatment: Treatment of osteoarthritis is normally non-operative and involves painkillers, anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy and a range of injections. If these measures fail to resolve symptoms, patients will be offered keyhole surgery or potentially replacement surgery.
Achilles Tendon Problems
The Achilles tendon is a thick tendon running from the calf muscles to the heel bone. It can get injured through overuse. Patients typically experience pain, swelling and weakness.
Treatment: Over 90 per cent of patients with Achilles tendon problems are treated non-operatively. Treatment usually involves physical therapy and injections. Ultrasound shock wave therapy may also be used. However, Achilles tendon ruptures may need surgical repair.
Peroneal Tendon Problems
There are two tendons known as the peroneal tendons which run behind the bony protrusion on the outside of the ankle joint. These tendons can become split, torn or dislocated. Patients then experience pain, swelling, snapping and instability.
Treatment: If the tendons are simply inflamed and thickened, then treatment will involve non-operative measures, such as physiotherapy, rest and occasional injections. If the tendons have become split, torn or dislocated then surgical repair may be required.
An ankle fracture involves one or more of the three bones that make up the ankle (fibula, tibia and talus). Most fractures involve the fibula and tibia alone. Talus fractures are relatively rare. Fractures are usually caused by trauma and are common in contact sports. Patients experience acute pain along with swelling and an inability to weight bear.
Treatment: If the fractures are undisplaced or minimally displaced they can be treated non-operatively with a cast or walking boot. If bones are displaced significantly then surgery is usually required.