Dislocated Ankle or Ankle Dislocation: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
Any forceful injury or impact to the ankle joint results in the adjoining bones to lose contact with each other resulting in ankle dislocation. Ankle dislocations frequently occur with a sprain, fracture of the ankle or total rupture of the lateral ligaments. The dislocation can be superior, posterior or anterior.
Ankle dislocation is rare and when it occurs, it is almost associated with a fracture. The ankle is very strong and complex, hence the ankle joint rarely gets dislocated. The cause of the dislocation can be an indirect trauma causing the ankle to flex abnormally. The dislocation can occur in any direction and is very painful. All ligaments on one side get torn resulting in the ankle joint dislocation. This commonly occurs on the external region of the ankle, where three ligaments are present. These ligaments are often injured during an ankle sprain.
Symptoms of a Dislocated Ankle or Ankle Dislocation
- Abrupt severe pain.
- Inability to use the ankle.
- The ankle appears crooked or deformed as the tibia and fibula lose contact with each other.
- Tenderness is present.
- Swelling is present.
- In case of nerve damage, numbness and tingling in the foot is present.
- If the blood supply is diminished, then foot can feel cold or turns a blue/white color.
Causes of a Dislocated Ankle or Ankle Dislocation
Athletes involved in contact sports and especially those athletes who don't wear ankle supports are at high risk for this injury. Examples are baseball players, cross-country runners as they run on uneven and rough surfaces, athletes with old ankle injuries etc. Individuals suffering from arthritis and having poor muscle tone are also at risk for dislocating their ankles.
Treatment of a Dislocated Ankle or Ankle Dislocation
- The R.I.C.E principle should be applied.
- X-ray confirms the diagnosis.
- Weight bearing should be avoided.
- Athletes should properly warm up before exercising or training to avoid dislocation.
- The ankle should be relocated by a medical professional involving manipulation or surgery.
- Surgery is required if a fracture is present.
- During surgery, plates and screws are used to restore the position of the ankle.
- The ankle is placed in a cast for some weeks.
- The patient can use crutches to avoid weight bearing.
- Physical therapy and rehab program should be started to restore normal motion of the ankle and to strengthen the muscles.