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Related Ankle Problems

Monday, September 15th, 2014, 2:35 pm

The ankle is a joint made up of three bones, the tibia (shin bone), fibula (thin bone next to the shin bone), and a bone that sits above the heel that roughly takes the shape of a rectangle, called the talus. The ankle bones are surrounded by many ligaments that connect the bones in the leg and foot to the ankle. This joint primarily supports up and downward motion, but it is highly susceptible to injury, especially in athletes and dancers. To follow is an overview of two closely related ankle conditions.

Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain is the stretching or tearing of one or more ligaments in the ankle joint. Ligaments are strong bands found in joints that serve as connective tissue between bones. Ankle sprains are the most common musculoskeletal injuries treated by orthopedists. Typically, patients sprain their ankle when stepping on an uneven surface, or while playing sports that causes the ankle to roll inward, which places enormous stress on the outside of the ankle joint. Ankle sprains usually cause significant pain, swelling, bruising, and possibly redness. Treatment for ankle sprains varies depending on the degree of the sprain, but generally rest, ice, elevation, and immobilization/non-weight bearing for a period of a few days, to a few weeks is prescribed.

Ankle sprains vary in severity from mild to severe.

  • Mild sprains: A ligament is torn or over-stretched, but remains intact. Symptoms usually last about a week.
  • Moderate sprains: More than one ligament is over-stretched or torn, pain is more severe, and recovery takes up to two weeks.
  • Severe sprains: All ligaments on the outside of the ankle are disrupted or severed, pain is severe, and injury to the talar dome (top of the talus bone) may be injured as well. Recovery can take as long as 6 weeks.

Chronic ankle sprains may lead to ankle instability, and could require ankle ligament stabilization surgery.

Osteochondral Lesion of the Talus (OLT, OCD, Osteochondritis Dissecans)

This condition occurs when a chip, or hole develops in the hyaline cartilage (strong smooth coating over the talus), most often as a result of trauma to the bone sustained during a severe ankle sprain or other trauma-related ankle injury. OLT causes chronic pain in the ankle that feels as if the ankle will give out while walking. Many patients report hearing or feeling a clicking/catching in their ankle and have frequent episodic swelling. Treatment for OLT ranges from conservative to surgical, depending on the size of the lesion. Surgery for OLTs is often performed by arthroscopy, and recovery can take anywhere from 6 months to a year.

OLTs are diagnosed through a physical exam and MRI or other imaging testing. Patients who have suffered repeat sprains and ankle trauma that suffer from OLT symptoms should visit an orthopedist for evaluation. Lesions of the talus left untreated can cause further injury, and arthritis.

Orthopedic Surgeon  in Las Vegas

To learn more about treatments for ankle problems, contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Troy Watson. We are located in Las Vegas, Henderson, and North Las Vegas, and we can be reached at 702.731.1616. We look forward to hearing from you!


Category: Ankle Injuries, News


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