The ankles are flexible enough to permit a wide range of motion, yet strong enough to bear the weight of the body. But ankles can still be injured. Today, as more people engage in sports and physical activities, ankle injuries have become increasingly common.
An ankle sprain occurs when ligaments in the ankle joint are stretched or torn. Ligaments are like strong cords, tough, but when pulled to their limit, they can tear. Depending on the amount of ligament tearing, a sprain can be mild, moderate or severe. The accumulation of fluids after a ligament injury, may cause symptoms characteristics of a sprained ankle: pain, swelling and bruising of the ankle and foot.
A fracture is a broken bone. Ankle fractures can result from a twist or forceful blow to the lower leg. In a non-displaced fracture, one or more bones are broken, yet they remain in their normal position. In a displaced fracture, bones, in addition to being broken, are also thrown out of alignment.
Displaced fractures threaten the stability of the joint and require repositioning of the bone, called reduction.
Ankle fractures are usually painful and may be accompanied by swelling and bruising.
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