The ankle is a joint that connects the foot to the lower leg. It is composed of three bones: the tibia and fibula from the lower leg and the talus from the foot. These three bones come together to form a hinge joint that allows for up-and-down movement of the foot.

Anatomy of the Ankle

There are several important structures in the ankle that help with its function. These include:

Ligaments: The ankle is supported by several ligaments that help keep the bones in place and provide stability to the joint. These include the anterior talofibular ligament, the posterior talofibular ligament, and the calcaneofibular ligament.

Muscles: There are several muscles in the ankle that help with movement and stability. These include the gastrocnemius, soleus, peroneals, and tibialis anterior.

Tendons: The tendons in the ankle connect the muscles to the bones and help with movement. The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the ankle, connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone.

The ankle joint plays several essential functions that enable us to move, balance, and perform daily activities. Some of the main functions of the ankle joint are:

Support body weight: The ankle joint bears the weight of the body and distributes it evenly to the foot and leg, providing stability and balance during standing, walking, running, and other weight-bearing activities.

Flexibility and movement: The ankle joint is a hinge joint that allows for dorsiflexion (lifting the foot upward) and plantarflexion (pointing the foot downward), as well as some side-to-side motion called inversion (turning the foot inward) and eversion (turning the foot outward).

Shock absorption: The ankle joint helps to absorb shock and reduce impact during activities such as running and jumping, protecting the foot and leg from injury.

Balance and stability: The ankle joint, along with the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding it, plays a vital role in maintaining balance and stability during standing and movement.

Propulsion: The ankle joint generates power during walking and running, propelling the body forward.

Overall, the ankle joint is a complex and important joint that supports movement, balance, and stability, and is essential for performing daily activities and maintaining an active lifestyle.

Ankle treatment
The knee joint is comprised of several key structures (1)

When to consult an orthopaedic surgeon?

You should consider seeing an orthopaedic surgeon for your ankle if you experience any of the following symptoms:

Persistent pain: If you have persistent ankle pain that does not improve with rest, icing, or over-the-counter pain medication, it may be time to see an orthopedic surgeon. 

Limited mobility: If you have limited mobility in your ankle, such as difficulty walking or performing daily activities, it’s a good idea to see an orthopedic surgeon. 

Swelling or redness: If you have swelling, redness, or warmth around your ankle, it may be a sign of a more serious condition, and you should see an orthopedic surgeon. 

Instability or weakness: If you feel like your ankle is unstable or weak, it could be a sign of a ligament tear or other injury, and you should consult an orthopedic surgeon. 

Previous injury: If you have previously injured your ankle and are still experiencing pain or limited mobility, it’s a good idea to see an orthopedic surgeon to evaluate the injury and discuss treatment options.

An orthopaedic surgeon can help diagnose the cause of your ankle pain and develop a treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms. They can also provide surgical options if necessary. It’s always best to consult with a medical professional if you’re experiencing persistent ankle pain or other symptoms that are affecting your daily life.

When is surgery required?

Surgery for the ankle is usually reserved for cases where conservative treatments have failed to alleviate symptoms or when the injury or condition is severe. Here are some common ankle conditions that may require surgery:

Ankle fractures: Severe ankle fractures that cannot be treated with immobilization or casting may require surgery. Surgery may also be necessary if the bones are out of place or if the fracture affects the joint. 

Ligament tears: Severe tears or ruptures of the ankle ligaments may require surgery to repair or reconstruct the damaged tissue. 

Arthritis: Severe cases of ankle arthritis that cause pain and limited range of motion may require joint replacement surgery. 

Tendon injuries: Severe injuries to the ankle tendons may require surgery to repair or reconstruct the damaged tissue. 

Ankle instability: Chronic ankle instability that is not responding to non-surgical treatments may require surgery to stabilize the joint.

It’s important to note that surgery is usually considered a last resort and is only recommended when non-surgical treatments have failed. Our orthopaedic surgeon will evaluate your condition and discuss the best treatment options with you, including the risks and benefits of surgery.

The knee joint is comprised of several key structures (1)
The knee joint is comprised of several key structures (1)

When is surgical intervention required?

Shoulder surgery may be required when conservative treatments such as physical therapy, medication, or injections have failed to alleviate the symptoms of a shoulder condition. Some common reasons why shoulder surgery may be necessary include:

Rotator cuff tear: If you have a large or symptomatic rotator cuff tear that is not healing with non-surgical treatments, surgery may be required to repair the torn tendon.

Shoulder impingement syndrome: If you have persistent shoulder pain or limited mobility due to shoulder impingement syndrome, surgery may be required to remove the bone or tissue that is causing the impingement.

Frozen shoulder: If you have a frozen shoulder that is not responding to non-surgical treatments, surgery may be required to release the tight capsule and restore range of motion.

Shoulder instability: If you have recurrent shoulder dislocations or instability, surgery may be required to repair or tighten the damaged ligaments or tendons that are causing the instability.

Arthritis: If you have severe arthritis in the shoulder joint that is causing pain and limited mobility, surgery may be required to replace the damaged joint with an artificial joint.

It is important to note that not all shoulder conditions require surgery, and surgery should only be considered after a thorough evaluation and discussion with our qualified orthopaedic surgeon. Your surgeon will evaluate your specific condition and recommend the best course of treatment for your individual needs. They will also discuss the risks and benefits of surgery, as well as what to expect during the recovery process.