Common Types of Ankle Conditions

Common Types of Ankle Conditions

Achilles Tendonitis and Tendinosis

Achilles tendonitis is an inflammatory condition affecting the Achilles tendon, otherwise known as the “heel cord”.  It is the thick, connective tissue that connects the muscles of the heel to the calf. The Achilles tendon, which is considered as the strongest and the largest tendon, works as a shock absorber of the foot whenever a person walks, runs, jumps, or swims. When tendons are inflamed, stiffness and pain may be felt at the back of the heel that may last from days to weeks.

Some people, however, may experience chronic discomfort and pain in the heel cord. If this occurs without apparent inflammation, Achilles tendinosis is suspected.

Achilles tendinosis is a degenerative condition involving gradual thickening of the Achilles tendon. It may be due to repetitive stress or overuse of the tendon or as a result of wear and tear in relation to aging.

Broken Ankle

A broken ankle, or ankle fracture, can range from a simple break to compound fracture involving several broken bones or joints that make up the ankle.

Depending on the severity, anyone who has a broken ankle may or may not have trouble walking or moving the feet. The more complex the fracture is, the more unstable the feet become.

Sprained Ankle

Ankle sprains are common injuries that involve the strong ligaments in the ankle. The ligaments are connective tissues that support the ankle. When these connective tissues stretch beyond their limits or tears due to a trauma, it can result in an ankle sprain. Symptoms may include swelling, pain, bruising, immobility of the feet, stiffness, and tenderness.

High Ankle Sprain

Also known as a syndesmotic sprain, a high ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments located near the knee (above the ankle joints). These ligaments connect the outer leg bone to the shin bone. This condition often results from severe outward twisting of the foot.

Osteochondral Lesion

Osteochondral lesions are injuries to the talus, which is the bottom bone of the ankle joint. These injuries may involve both the bone and the cartilage (firm tissues connecting bones and joints).

Blistering or formation of cyst-like lesions occurs within the cartilage or the bone layers. Symptoms include pain, severe locking of the joint of the ankle or difficulty of bending the ankle. Some patients describe this symptom as ‘an ankle that freezes up’.

Chronic lateral ankle pain

Chronic lateral ankle pain occurs when the ligament on the outer side of the ankle stretches out or tears. This condition results in recurring/chronic pain at the lateral part of the ankle.


Ankle osteoarthritis is a condition that is degenerative in nature. It happens when the ankle’s cartilages wear away, and the bone ends rub together causing inflammation and swelling. Symptoms include ankle joint stiffness, discomfort, and pain.

Ligament Tear

The ankle ligaments are the tough connective tissues that join the bones and joints of the ankles. They provide support and strength to the feet. Torn ligaments, commonly known as “sprains”, occur due to overstretching, tears, or rupture on one or more of these connective tissues.

If you suspect you have one of these conditions, contact  us to discuss different options with one of our podiatrists.

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