Your talofibular ligaments are ligaments in your ankles. The posterior talofibular ligament runs along the back and side of your ankle, while the anterior talofibular ligament is found at the front of your ankle. One or both of these ligaments can become stretched or torn during sports, resulting in talofibular ligament injuries. Here are four things you need to know about these injuries.
What are the signs of talofibular ligament injuries?
The signs of talofibular ligament injuries will vary based on the severity of the injury. In grade one injuries, the least severe type, the ligament is partially torn. Your ankle will be mildly tender, but you'll still be able to walk on it without too much pain.
Grade two injuries involve an incomplete tear of the ligament and functional impairment of the ankle. In this case, you'll have moderate pain, tenderness in your ankle, and while you'll be able to put weight on your ankle, it will be painful.
Grade three injuries are the worst type and involve a complete tear of your ligament. These injuries cause the most severe symptoms including severe swelling and an inability to put any weight on the affected ankle.
How do these injuries happen?
Your talofibular ligament can be injured when your ankle moves out of its normal position. This can happen if you run or walk on uneven ground and twist your ankle. Another possible cause is falling or being tackled while playing contact sports like football. Track-and-field athletes, dancers, and gymnastics may injure their talofibular ligament after jumping and then landing awkwardly on their ankle.
How are they treated?
Talofibular ligament injuries are treated by immobilizing your ankle. This can be done with a lace-up brace, cast, or long-leg boot, depending on the severity of your injury. You can put weight on your ankle as soon as it doesn't hurt to do so, and in the meantime, your podiatrist may tell you to use crutches. Avoid doing any sports until your podiatrist has cleared you for activity.
If your ankle still hurts after your brace, cast, or boot comes off, you may need to have surgery. Surgery involves suturing the affected ligament back together.
Are talofibular ligament injuries common?
Talofibular ligament injuries are a fairly common problem in the United States. The yearly incidence of this injury is 3,600 cases per 100,000 people.
If your ankle hurts after falling or jumping, see a podiatrist or sports medicine professional (such as Dr. Lisa M. Schoene) as you may have a talofibular ligament injury.