Are You Sure It's Just a Simple Ankle Sprain?

The peroneal tendons (P.brevis and P. longus) lie on the outside or lateral side of the ankle and behind the fibular maleous.

Very often when you “sprain or twist” your ankles, these 2 tendons are involved.  The mechanism(s) of injury can be several and the resulting injuries can involve not only the tendons, but the lateral ligaments and ankle and foot bones as well. Today I will briefly discuss the injuries that can occur to the tendons, but very often these “tendon injuries’ (which are often sports related) also will involve other structures of the foot and ankle.

The so-called “twisting” of one’s ankle is not just cut and dried. The actual mechanism of injury can often be either very simple, or very complex or anywhere in between.

The peroneal tendons function to pull the foot out and away from the body. When the foot/ankle twists inward these tendons (usually along with the lateral ankle ligaments) get pulled and stretched in the opposite direction to that of their usual function. This results in the possibility of several things occurring. The tendons can tear off of their attachments, (either partially or completely), can sublux to the front of the lateral malleous (not where it usually belongs), (usually with the feeling of a huge “POP”).

These injuries can occur simply with walking and “turning your ankle” or with running or stepping into a hole. Regardless of how it occurs, the result is pulling and/or tearing of not only the tendons, but of the ligaments that offer stability to the outside of your ankle. There are varying degrees of these types of injuries depending upon the exact mechanism of the injury, which would include the force and direction of the injury.

With all of that being said, treatment of peroneal injuries can run the gamut from simple rest, ice and immobilization, to physical rehabilitation as well as the possible need for surgical intervention in the worst case scenarios.

Needless to say peroneal injuries along with inversion ankle injuries need the attention of a medical practitioner. They can become a chronic condition and ultimately could affect not only your sports activities, but also your daily lives.