The ankle, also known as the ankle, is an important joint that connects the foot and calf. The ankle is actually a pleasant "contemporary": it usually works well for a lifetime, hardly noticeable, and makes its owner only then, if you hurt yourself. Then a peculiarity becomes clear: "The ankle joint as such does not exist, for example - there are two on each side.

What is the ankle?

Schematic representation of the anatomy and structure of the ankle. Click to enlarge.

The ankle connects the lower leg and the foot and, colloquially, it also refers to the adjacent bone structures as an ankle.

It divides the ankle into an upper and a lower ankle, which only allow the interaction of the full flexibility of the foot and thus the upright gait.

The ankle is made up of several bones. It consists of an upper and lower ankle and allows the mobility of the foot. It is the joint, which is exposed to the greatest stress in everyday life - while walking, the ankle must carry about seven times the body weight.

Anatomy & Construction

The anatomy of the ankle consists first of all of a few bones: From the lower leg form the tibia ( tibia ) and on the outside of the fibula ( fibula ) a kind of ankle fork or forceps, in the middle of the ankle bones ( Trochlea tali ), one after above curved broad joint surface, is bordered. It belongs to the anklebone, which in turn is the first and uppermost tarsal bone. This joint is thus the upper ankle joint. Between talus ( talus ) and heel bone ( calcaneus ) in turn is another articular surface, the lower ankle, which can be divided over three articular surfaces again in a front and a rear partial joint. The heel bone is the bone that forms the externally palpable "hoe".

Strong lateral ligaments between anklebone and tibia (inner ankle) or anklebone and fibula (ankle) ensure the hinge movement of the upper ankle joint. In addition, some ligaments also skip over the lower ankle by pulling further down towards the heel bone or forward toward the navicular. The lower ankle also has some very tight bands for its protection. But it is far less prone to injury than the upper, since the main lever effect in accidents usually focused on the ankle fork.

Muscles do not contribute too much to securing the hocks, but are of course important for mobility. A great swing of tendons of the lower leg muscles pulls on the back of the inner ankle over a pulley over the sole of the foot to advertise there on different bone and soft tissue structures. The strong Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone and is thus responsible for the flexion of the foot. The front lower leg muscles pull long before the lateral knuckle to the lateral foot edge. The tendons are also the major blood vessels and nerve tracts.

Functions & Tasks

The function of the ankle is primarily to allow the upright gait, the resilient step, the Retrieving on uneven ground and the fast turning and turning maneuvers in locomotion. The upper ankle joint is primarily a hinge joint, the axis of which extends across the ankle fork and anklebone. The flexion of the foot by pulling the Achilles tendon is possible to a greater extent than the extension of the foot towards the instep (about 50 or 30 degrees from the neutral position when standing).

In addition, the bone contact between the ankle fork and ankle bones role in the flexion slightly looser, so then small side movements of the foot against the lower leg are possible. This is important, for example, when climbing mountains: uphill you have a safe kick, not downhill. Sprains therefore usually occur when descending (although certainly the fatigue and poorer visibility make their contribution here).

The lower ankle joint is somewhat more complicated in terms of mobility: it is almost a ball-and-socket joint, but the shafts and ligaments reduce the axes to one major movement, which is oblique and allows 60 degrees inward rotation and 30 degrees outward rotation,

Diseases & complaints

The ankle is relatively rarely affected by injuries and illnesses. Much more common than arthrosis, arthritides and gout attacks are external injuries. Especially torn ligaments occur here. This may affect the inner band or the subbands of the outer ankle.

The most frequently injured band of the human body is the anterior talofibular ligament, the foremost of the outer ligaments. Ribbon tears most commonly occur as a result of kinking injuries, such as in football with opponent influence or simply on uneven turf. Surgery is usually not necessary for torn ligaments. The torn parts heal themselves after weeks of immobilization, but remain lifelong susceptible to recurring tears.

Fractures are rarer, but equally possible, as a serious sports injury (skiing, football, etc.) as well as in traffic accidents. As a rule, an operation involving the restoration of metal parts must restore bone continuity so that the fragments can heal properly.

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