Hello and welcome back to the ThreeSpires Physiotherapy blog where we discuss all things physiotherapy related. I was reading back through all of our physiotherapy blogs recently and I noticed that it has been a while since we took a look at a particular joint or condition. So, I thought in this blog we would look at one of the most common areas of the body to get injured: the ankle.
A good place to start when thinking about how any part of the human body gets injured is the anatomy, so before looking at how it gets injured it would be a good idea if we had a look at the structures involved. As a physiotherapist I was taught that the first thing to look at when you were wanting to learn about a particular joint was the bones involved. Now, with the ankle this can be a little difficult as the ankle and the foot pretty much merge into one with a lot of bones in the foot actually comprising the ankle. However, let’s start with the basics: the two main bones of the ankle are the tibia (shin bone) and fibula. You can feel each of these bones at the ankle yourself: the tibia is the bony bump at the inside of your ankle and the fibula is on the outside. Both of these bumps of bone are called malleoli (malleolus for singular). The tibia and fibula are connected above these two bony bumps by a structure called the ankle syndesmosis which provides added strength to the overall ankle and also below by a series of ligaments which join the tibia and fibula together. Below these two malleoli the tibia forms the main ankle joint where it meets the talus at the talo-crural joint. This is a hinge joint and allows the foot/ankle to bend upwards and downwards. Now, obviously your foot and ankle is able to do a lot more than just bend up and down but these movements mostly take place in the tarsal bones of the foot and I think it would be best to look at these in a separate physiotherapy blog.
Joining all of these bones together are a series of strong ligaments that give the ankle a large amount of stability, especially at end of range. Plus we have the thickest and strongest tendon in the body: the Achilles tendon just behind the ankle. On each side of the malleoli of the ankle there are ligaments attaching the bones of the tibia and fibula to the bones underneath. On the inside part of the ankle we have the deltoid ligaments which join the tibia to the calacaneus (heel bone), talus and navicular bone. This is an extremely strong ligament and a serious injury to this often results in part of the bone being pulled off. At the outside part of the ankle there are also a series of ligaments joining the fibula to the talus and calcaneus with the most commonly injured being the anterior talo-fibular ligament (ATFL).
Okay, I think that is enough anatomy for one physiotherapy blog. In the next article we will look in detail at common ankle injuries.
For anyone reading this blog for the first time: we are a home visit physiotherapy service, based in Lichfield and serving Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth, Cannock, Walsall and Rugeley.
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