Our Experienced ankle Injury Lawyers can help you if you hurt your ankle in an accident.
Although you can injure your ankle in just about any kind of accident, an ankle injury is usually caused by a twisting motion associated with a trip and fall or slip and fall accident, commonly on snow and ice. It is the abnormal twisting of the joint that causes ligaments and tendons to stretch, rip and bones to break. The ligaments and tendons of the ankle joint connect the foot to the lower leg. The ankle is a powerful joint that supports the body during standing, walking and running. The ankle joint is also involved in the motion of the foot.
The Anatomy of a Healthy Ankle
The ankle is comprised of three joints: the talocrural joint, the subtalar joint, and the tibiofibular joint. The talus or ankle bone attaches to the tibia and fibula at the talocrural joint, where the foot and leg meet. The talus itself rests on the heel bone, also called the calcaneus. This creates a hinge which allows the foot to flex up and down. The subtalar joint is composed of the calcaneus and talus and allows for the side-to-side movement as well as shock absorption. The third joint is the inferior tibiofibular where the distal parts of the tibia and fibula connect. The ends of these bones are covered with articular cartilage which adds lubrication and helps them move smoothly.
Ligaments provide stability in connecting the bones to each other. There are many which give support to the ankle alone, as well as many more throughout the foot. The front and back of the ankle have especially strong main ligaments. In addition, there are several more on each side surrounding it.
Most ankle movement is caused by the muscles in the lower leg. The peroneus muscles run through the ankle, from the fibula to the metatarsals and help flex the foot. Calf muscles also connect to the calcaneus with the Achilles tendon. The anterior tibialis runs along the top of the foot and keeps the ankle upright. The posterior tibialis runs along the bottom of the foot and supports the arch.
Common Ankle Injuries Caused by Accidents
Pain, swelling, bruising and poor range of motion are expected symptoms of an ankle injury. Strains are fairly simple and heal in time with rest. Ankle fractures are one of two different types. They are either stable when the movement of the talus is unaffected, or unstable when it is. Unstable fractures require more invasive treatment since the bones will need to be repositioned. Of the various types of ankle fractures, lateral malleolus fractures are the most common. Fractures of the medial or posterior malleolus and bimalleolar fractures are also examples of breaks in the ankle bones. In many cases, it is also common for ligament and/or cartilage damage to occur in conjunction with more severe injuries like fractures.
Treatments For Your Leg And Ankle Injury
In the case of a sprained ankle, ice, elevation and anti-inflammatory medication should be sufficient for healing. However, fractures are more serious. There are many different types of fractures of the ankle. There are two basic ways to repair a fractured or broken ankle. One treatment method is called a closed reduction. In this procedure, your surgeon will manually manipulate the broken bone so that it is back in alignment. Conceptually, it is like putting two pieces of a broken pencil back together, when the pieces fit nicely together. Once this is done, the ankle is immobilized with a cast, and the two ends of the bone will fuse together with callus formation, a type of healing bone. This process takes a period of weeks.
If the fracture, or break, is more extensive, your doctor may recommend an operation called an open reduction, internal fixation procedure. This procedure is necessary when a simple closed reduction is not possible. During this surgery, the broken pieces of bone are held together with wire, screws, metal or some other device. Once the fragments are held together, the bones will heal. This is an invasive procedure and usually results in the permanent placement of metal in the body, as well as surgical scarring. The recovery period for an open reduction is usually longer than a closed reduction.
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If you have any questions about your ankle injury, whether it was caused by a car accident, elevator accident, or in some other way, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys for more information, by email or by calling (800) 762-9300. You can also get started by simply filling out one of our case intake forms, and we will have one of our attorneys get right back to you.
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