Your foot and ankle have at least 28 bones and over 30 joints. These joints are lined with a smooth, hard joint cartilage. This cartilage allows the bones to glide smoothly over one another allowing the joints to move as you walk or run. Your muscles, tendons and ligaments work together to control these complex foot and ankle motions.

Your ankle is made up of three main bones: the tibia, the fibula and the talus. These bones are held in place by three main sets of ligaments: the lateral ankle ligaments, the deltoid ligament and the syndesmosis ligament. These ligaments connect one bone to another bone and provide stability by preventing the bones from moving too far away from each other.

Taken together, these bones and ligaments give the ankle stability which is similar to the stability found in a ring. If you break a ring in one place, the remainder of the ring remains stable. This is also true for the ankle. If you fracture one of the bones or tear one of the ligaments, the ankle usually remains stable.

However, like a ring, if you break the ankle or tear ligaments in two places, the ankle becomes unstable. It is important to determine whether your ankle injury is stable or unstable because stable ankle injuries are usually treated without surgery, many times by just applying a cast, a boot or a brace, whereas unstable ankle injuries are usually treated with surgery.


Foot and ankle emergencies happen every day. Broken bones, dislocations, sprains, contusions, infections, and other serious injuries can occur at any time. Early attention is vitally important. Whenever you sustain a foot or ankle injury, you should seek immediate treatment from a podiatric physician. This advice is universal, even though there are lots of myths about foot and ankle injuries.

To learn about some of the most common foot and ankle injuries and conditions, view the videos, below.

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