ZocdocAnswersHave I done more damage than I thought to my ankle?

Question

Have I done more damage than I thought to my ankle?

Hi, I've dealt with what I believe to be a high number of ankle sprains to my left ankle in the last few months.I heard an audible pop and crack when the last one occurred about 2 months ago and my stability has been shot since. I've recently discovered a protrusion that feels like bone near where I think the ATFL would be and every time I take a step, something either clicks or grinds in my ankle and I find myself having to consciously walk carefully at times for fear of it giving way again. My sports coach, who is a pediatrist, examined my ankle before I noticed the protrusion and said that he was unable to locate my ATFL or CFL. A walk-in GP I visited suspected I may have fractured it, thought it was a sprain, and it has healed incorrectly, hence the protrusion. I don't feel any pain when walking, just a lack of stability, and the grinding I can feel internally.

Answer

Thank you very much for your question and sorry to hear about your injury. Joint injuries are very common, particularly amongst people who engage in physically demanding activities and sports that involve pivot motions and lateral movement. Depending on whether you injured your ankle with an inversion or eversion injury, different ligaments/tendons may have been affected. As you may already know, simple sprains involve partial tears to the ligaments connecting the bones in your ankle. Sometimes, bad sprains can lead to avulsions (tearing) of the ends of the ligament off of their bony stabilizing areas. Furthermore, injuries can sometimes result in a fracture, as mentioned by your general practitioner. While physical exam can help to narrow down the differential diagnosis of the extent of the injury, often imaging is required to fully evaluate the extent of the injury. This may include X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. It is not possible to receive a diagnosis without being evaluated by a qualified health care professional. You mentioned that you have already visited your podiatrist and a general practitioner. If you continue to have additional concerns regarding your ankle, you may be able to obtain a referral to see an orthopaedic surgeon who can evaluate your ankle for further injury. In some cases, it may be necessary to undergo further diagnostic testing and/or imaging.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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