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Foot & Ankle Injury Clinic at Clemenceau Medical Center Hospital

The foot and ankle is made up of a complex network of joints and bones held together by ligaments and connective tissue. It is divided into the rearfoot, midfoot, and forefoot regions. The ankle consists of three bones – the tibia, the fibula, and the talus. The junction of the tibia and fibula creates a joint that the anklebone (talus) fits into. This allows for the up and down movement of the foot (dorsiflexion and plantarflexion).

Common Ankle and Foot Injuries

Ankle sprain

This is one of the most common orthopedic injuries. An ankle sprain happens when the ankle moves beyond the threshold resulting in the tearing of the ligaments that are in place preventing the movement. Acute swelling and pain occur when the ligaments are stretched beyond their usual capacity. The severity of the ligament injury determines the grade of an ankle sprain. Ankle sprains are normally classified by grades I-III.

High ankle sprain

This refers to an injury to the syndesmotic tissue between the tibia and fibula above the ankle joint. These ligaments are found in the lower leg and hold the tibia and fibula together, forming the joint where the talus is.

Plantar fasciitis

This is one of the most common causes of heel pain. The condition occurs when the planter fascia, a thick band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot and supports the arch, is inflamed.

Tendonitis

Tendonitis is the inflammation of a tendon.  Tendons mainly serve the purpose of connecting muscles to bones. The foot and ankle have a number of lower extremity muscles that help support and move the foot in various directions. These muscles develop into tendons that connect to specific foot bones.

Tendon rupture

All tendons such as Achilles, posterior tibialis, and peroneal are susceptible to an acute rupture or a partial or a complete tear due to chronic overuse.

A quick contraction such as when one leap or a sudden overstretching of the tissue can both cause a tendon to rupture suddenly. The most common rupture is that of the Achilles tendon, which causes Achilles’ tendonitis.

Fractures

The foot and ankle have a wide variety of potential fracture sites. These include:

  • Calcaneus fracture: This refers to a fracture of the calcaneal bone, which is a very serious and crippling injury. Frequently, these types of fractures result from a high-impact situation such as trauma or a fall from a height.
  • An ankle fracture: This refers to a fracture of one or more of the ankle joint’s bones – tibia, fibula, or talus. Treatment options range from immobilization in a cast or boot to surgical reconstruction using screws and plates, depending on the number of fractures and structures affected.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

This condition occurs when the articular cartilage, the tissue that covers the ends of most bones gets worn and degenerates. It is sometimes known as “wear and tear” arthritis, which can be caused by natural aging, or trauma (post-traumatic arthritis).

Balance disorders

In functional activities such as walking, the foot-ankle complex plays a very significant role in balance and foot adjustment. Over time, losing equilibrium becomes a problem for many patients. A fall resulting from a failure to react to a change in the walking surface or change direction can have grievous effects, such as a hip fracture.

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