The ankle is a hinge joint which connects the foot bones to the leg. It bears the maximum bodyweight which makes it prone to injuries. The two leg bones, fibula and tibia, are connected to the talus (ankle bone) and supported by many tendons, ligaments, connective tissues as well as muscles. These enable the joint to function and remain stable. A strong force may damage the connective tissues and lead to the displacement of the constituent bones. This condition is termed as Ankle Dislocation. In most cases, the injury occurs in association with other foot injuries such as fractures and sprains.


  • Sports injury
  • Sudden change in direction while running or exercising
  • Inward or outward rolling of the ankle
  • Sprain
  • A direct fall on the foot
  • Vehicular accident


  • Pain which can be severe at the time of injury Inability to walk, stand or bear body weight
  • Swelling which may get aggravated with time
  • Limping
  • Visible deformity
  • Numbness
  • Pins and needles sensation
  • Redness of skin or warmth around the ankle
  • Ecchymosis and bruising
  • The foot may turn cold after injury, if blood supply is obstructed


  • Clinical examination by the doctor
  • The symptoms, mode of injury and patient’s medical history may be analyzed
  • MRI and CT scan may be recommended to assess soft tissue damage


Non-surgical options include the following:

  • Rest the injured foot with the leg elevated at chest level
  • Weight bearing should be avoided for 4-6 weeks.
  • Crutches or a walking stick may be used for support while walking
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines may be prescribed to relieve pain
  • Wearing a specifically designed boot for a few days to restrict the movement of the ankle
  • Cryotherapy – ice packs may help curb pain and swelling
  • Anatomical reduction or manual re-alignment of the displaced (ankle) bone. The doctor may administer local anesthesia before the procedure
  • Use of a splint or cast to keep the foot stable post-reduction Physical therapy may help to restore motion and strengthen the supporting muscles

Surgery may be required in case of torn or damaged ligaments and tendons. The following procedures may be recommended:

  • Surgical fixation using screws and plates may be required in case dislocation is accompanied with a bone fracture
  • Ankle replacement surgery may be performed in case of severe damage to the joint

Updated 5/14/19