Torn ligament at the ankle

This text provides information in simple language on the topic: Torn ligaments at the ankle.

What is an ankle ligament tear?

The ankle is in the foot. It makes the foot flexible. Through the ankle, a person can raise and lower their foot.

There are many ligaments on the ankle. The ligaments hold the various bones in the ankle together. And the ligaments make the joint stable. The ankle is surrounded by these ligaments:

  • Outer band
  • Inner band
  • Syndesmosis

There are many ligaments on the ankle. The picture shows the outer ligament, the inner ligament and the syndesmosis

© Shutterstock / Allia Medical Media

A torn ligament on the ankle is an injury to the ligaments: a ligament tears. Most often the outer tape breaks. Therefore, this text provides information about the tear of the outer ligament.

What happens if an ankle ligament ruptures?

The ankle ligaments stabilize the foot. Nevertheless, the foot can twist. Then the ligaments become overloaded. Thereby the outer band

  • overstretched,
  • dragged
  • or torn.

Is the tape broken? Then the doctor speaks of a torn ligament.

How can you tell if you have torn ankle ligaments?

A torn ankle ligament can show several signs. These signs include, for example:

  • bruises on the foot
  • severe swelling of the foot
  • severe pain in the foot
  • Pain when stepping on

Sometimes the foot can no longer be moved normally.

Is there a torn ligament? Then you have to see a doctor. The doctor will examine you and give you all the important information.

Warning: the symptoms persist and you don't go to the doctor? Then bend over again and again. You can have trouble walking. And you can get a lot of pain. Therefore, see a doctor if there are any signs of a torn ligament.

What are the causes of an ankle ligament tear?

Sometimes the foot kinks. A ligament in the foot can tear.

Do you exercise? In sports with fast movements, the foot bends more easily. These sports include, for example:

  • Soccer
  • volleyball
  • basketball

Do you like to wear high-heeled shoes? Even then, it is easier for the foot to twist. In high heels, the foot often doesn't have that much grip.

What can you do if you have a torn ankle ligament?

Are you in pain? Then you can do the following things for the pain:

  • relieve the foot,
  • put your foot up
  • cool your foot.

You can also take pain relievers. Talk to a doctor before taking pain medication.

Sometimes you have to take it easy on the foot for several weeks. Then you must not step with your foot. This is why you may need injections. The syringes are against a thrombosis. Thrombosis is dangerous. Therefore speak to your doctor. The doctor will give you all the important information.

How can the torn ankle ligaments be treated?

A torn ankle ligament needs treatment. There are two ways to do this:

1. The doctor decides: You are doing conservative therapy. That means: the bond grows back together by itself. Then you get a walking rail. You won't bend over with the walking splint. So you can use the foot almost normally. You must wear the walking splint for at least six weeks: day and night.
Sometimes you can then do a little sport. But you may also need to do physiotherapy. With physiotherapy, you do sports with an expert. The expert will show you special exercises for the injured foot.

This is what a walking rail can look like, for example.

© dpa PictureAlliance / Ole Spata

2. The doctor can also decide: You will have surgical treatment. Then the ligament has to be operated on. The ribbons are sewn. The reasons for surgical therapy are, for example:

  • several ligaments are torn,
  • the ankle is unstable,
  • Ankle bones are injured.

The doctor will talk to you about the risks of an operation. And the doctor will give you all the important information.

You must not put any weight on your foot for about six weeks after the operation. You then also have to wear a walking splint. You must wear the walking splint for at least five weeks: day and night.

How can you avoid tearing ankle ligaments?

Here's how you can reduce the risk of tearing ankle ligaments:

  • Warm up well before exercising.
  • Wear special sports shoes.
  • Exercise the muscles around the ankle.
  • Wear bandages for fast-moving sports; a bandage supports the joint.

Where can you get more information?

Would you like to read more about the torn ligament in the ankle? More information can be found here. Attention: This link leads out of our simple language offer. The information is then no longer in plain language.

Attention: This text only contains general information. The text does not replace a visit to the doctor. Only a doctor can give you accurate information. Are you feeling sick? Or do you have questions about an illness? Then you should always see a doctor.

We wrote the texts together with the Light Language Research Center. The light language research center is at the University of Hildesheim.