Types of Common Ankle Injuries and Their Causes 

There can be several ways in which different ankle injuries can occur, from landing badly while playing sports, stepping on uneven surfaces, or from trauma to the ankle area from an RTA or an accident at work.  

However your ankle injury occurred, it’s likely that it will impact your day-to-day activities, and you might need time off work while your injury heals. If your ankle injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, we can help you make an ankle injury claim, so that you can take the time you need to recover fully.  

Anatomy of the ankle 

The ankle or talocrural joint is comprised of three bones: the talus, the tibia, and the fibula. The joint is supported by a strong ligament known as the deltoid ligament, which can be found on the inner ankle, and by weaker ligaments on the outside, including the talo-fibular ligament. In cases of a twisted ankle, it is likely to be this talo-fibular ligament that is affected.  

Types of common ankle injuries 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common ankle injuries, including their symptoms and the effects different types of ankle injuries can have on your day-to-day life.  

Sprains 

A sprained ankle can happen when you move your ankle in an awkward way, leading to a stretch or tear to the ankle ligaments. According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms of a sprained ankle can include pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, restricted movement, instability and a popping sensation or sound when the injury occurs.  

Fractures 

The ankle is one of the most commonly broken bones. According to OrthoInfo, there are three main types of ankle fracture. These are: 

Nondisplaced fracture – where the ankle bones are not out of place. These fractures do not usually need surgery. 

Displaced fracture – this is where the broken bone fragments are separated. There may be fractures in multiple areas, and the ankle joint might be dislocated. Where there is an ankle fracture with a dislocation, in most cases, surgery is needed.  

Open fracture also known as a compound fracture, this is where the broken bones break through the skin. An injury like this should be treated as an emergency.  

Achilles tendon injuries 

Achilles tendon injuries can include tendonitis, when the tendon becomes inflamed, causing pain to the back of the leg and the heel area. Another Achilles tendon injury is a rupture, where there is a complete or partial break of the tendon.  

An injury to the Achilles tendon can cause significant pain and may lead to difficulties with mobility and staying active.  

Tendonitis 

Tendonitis occurs when a tendon swells due to an injury. According to the NHS, symptoms include: 

  • tendon pain that gets worse when you move  
  • difficulty moving the joint 
  • experiencing a grating or crackling sensation when moving the tendon  
  • swelling, sometimes with heat or redness 

Instability 

Ankle instability describes when the ankle joint is too loose, which can lead to problems, including ankle injuries. In some cases, the ankle ‘gives out’ despite the ligaments being stable – known as functional instability.  

Causes of ankle injuries 

These common ankle injuries can be caused by various factors. Here, we look at some of these causes in more detail.  

Trauma 

Road accidents (including car, motorbike and cycling accidents) can cause trauma to the ankle area, leading to injury. 

Slips, trips and falls, which might occur on pavements or in supermarkets, are another common cause of ankle injuries.  

Overuse 

In some cases, an ankle injury may be the result of overuse, causing weakness to the area. Ankle strains are an overuse injury; in cases of a chronic ankle strain, it often occurs when the ankle is being overused over an extended period. This might be seen in sportspeople, such as footballers or marathon runners.  

Sports injuries 

Sports injuries can result in some of these common ankle injuries, due to the twisting movement and repeated impact on the ankle joint in some activities. 

Acute ankle sprains for example, are the most common lower limb injury in athletes, accounting for up to 40% of all sports-related injuries according to the National Library of Medicine.  

Walking or running on uneven ground may also increase your risk of ankle injury. 

Poor footwear 

Footcare MD explain that wearing high heels can lead to ankle injuries such as ankle sprains and fractures. Because the foot is pointed down in high heeled shoes, this makes it easy to sprain the ankle. There is also the obvious risk of losing your balance when wearing high heels, which can lead to injury.  

Ankle weakness or instability 

Ankle instability can occur due to repeated ankle sprains or due to a sprain that hasn’t properly healed or been fully rehabilitated. Chronic ankle instability can cause repeated turning of the ankle, particularly on uneven surfaces or during sports.  

Risk factors 

According to Mayo Clinic, risk factors that increase your likelihood of a sprained ankle include:  

  • Participating in sports 
  • Walking or running on uneven surfaces 
  • Previous ankle injury 
  • Poor ankle strength or flexibility  
  • Improper shoes  

How to prevent an ankle injury 

Preventing some of these common ankle injuries is not always possible, but UCSF Health explain there are some measures that might reduce your chance of foot or ankle injury, particularly in sports: 

  • Warm up before participating in sports 
  • Gradually increase activity to build strength 
  • Choose the right footwear for your foot type 
  • Replace worn out shoes 
  • Avoid uneven surfaces if possible 
  • Be careful when running up and down hills and build this up  
  • Consider a brace or tape for previous injuries 
  • Listen to your body 

Treatment options 

Treatment options for ankle injuries will depend on the type of ankle injury and the severity of the individual injury. Ankle sprains and strains can often be treated at home using the RICE method, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevate. The NHS recommends following these 4 steps for the first couple of days after a sprain or strain.  

The treatment for an ankle fracture differs depending on the severity. In very minor cases, there might not be a need for treatment but in more serious fractures, treatment options include: a special boot to support the ankle, a plaster cast, manipulation of the bones by a doctor, or in some cases surgery.  

Treatment for tendonitis involves resting, as well as putting ice on the area, and supporting the tendon using a tube bandage or soft brace that should be removed before bed. A pharmacist can also give advice on painkillers to help ease your discomfort.  

Treatment for ankle instability can be surgical or non-surgical according to FootCare MD. Non-surgical treatments include bracing the ankle for certain activities such as sports, and rehabilitation. If surgery is needed, this might involve tightening the ligaments or undertaking an ankle ligament reconstruction.  

Are you eligible to make a claim? 

You could be eligible to make a claim for an ankle injury if the injury was not your fault. For example, if your injury was caused by an accident at work, a road traffic accident, or a slip, trip or fall in a public place such as a supermarket or on the pavement, you could be entitled to compensation.  

The key to determining whether you have a valid claim is understanding whether your injury was down to someone else’s negligence. However, even if you were partly to blame for your accident, you could still be eligible to claim, so it’s important that you seek legal advice to determine your eligibility. Our expert team will talk you through the claims process and give you an estimate of how much compensation you could be entitled to.  

Making a claim with The Compensation Experts 

At The Compensation Experts, we work with a network of solicitors who regularly handle ankle injury compensation claims. They can help you recover compensation for your accident so that you have the breathing space you need to recover fully from your ankle injury. The solicitors we work have experience with various types of ankle injuries and have the expertise to deliver the best possible outcome for you.  

To start your claim, contact us today and speak to one of our friendly agents. You can contact us by filling in our contact form, or by calling us on 0800 182 2188

Ankle injury claims we’ve handled 

The solicitors we work with supported a milk wagon driver who sustained injuries to his foot and ankle when the load of a trolley and the cage toppled over onto his foot while at work. Compensation figure: £32,000  

Our network of solicitors helped a courier who suffered a soft tissue injury to his ankle after stepping into a large pothole while at work. Compensation figure: £4,449