Foot and Ankle Ligament and Tendon Injuries

ankle blue

Ligament and Tendon Injuries to the ankle are very common.  Use of Platelet Rich Plasma Injection can stimulate healing and speed up the recovery of these injuries.

Foot and Ankle Ligament Sprains

Ligament and Tendon Injuries in the Foot and Ankle are some of the most common musculoskeletal injuries.  About 25,000 Americans suffer ankle sprains each day.  Ankle sprains account for about half of all sports injuries and are the most common reason athletes take time off from activities.  The ankle is obviously a very important joint.  It’s normal function is critical to allow us to walk normally.  In order for the ankle to work properly it must be stable and pain free.

An ankle sprain is an injury to one or more of the important ligaments in the ankle.  Some of the tendons around the ankle can also be injured during the same injury.  The body can typically heal these injuries on its own; however, sometimes the healing is very slow or stops.  In this situation the symptoms persist and cause significant disability.  

The more rapidly these injuries heal, the faster a person can return to normal activities and sports.

ankle painful

Ankle Sprains are one of the most common athletic injuries.

The Normal Foot and Ankle

ankle-ligaments lateral B&W

The foot and ankle are critically important for us to walk.  The area is complex.  All of the structures must work properly for us to be able to walk normally.  The ankle must be stable and pain-free in order to function as intended.  

The important ligament structures are on the lateral (outer) and medial (inner) part of the ankle.  These ligaments hold the ankle in place.  The most commonly injured ligaments are the Anterior Talofibular Ligament and the Calcaneofibular Ligament on the lateral side of the ankle joint.  The main bones making up the ankle joint are the tibia, fibula (legs bones) and the talus.  The tibia and fibula make a cup into which the talus sits.  This joint allows the flexion and extension (plantar flexion and dorsiflexion) of the ankle.  The ligaments are critical in order to hold the talus within the cup or mortise in a stable manner.  There are also important tendons that run down the outer side (peroneal tendons) and inner side (posterior tibial tendon) that allow the ankle to function properly.

Ankle Anatomy Video - The ligaments are discussed starting at 2:25 in the video.

Ankle Sprains

The foot and ankle sustain the most number of sprains of any other part of our body.  An ankle sprain occurs when the ankle is twisted and loaded in an unusual way.  The most typical ankle occurs when the ankle is “inverted” or twisted inward, causing an injury and tears to the outer or lateral part of the ankle.  The most common ligaments injured in the lateral ankle include the Anterior Talofibular Ligament and the Calcaneofibular Ligament.  


Ankle Sprains most commonly involve the lateral (or outer side of the ankle) ligamentous complexes.

When a ligament gets “sprained” it sustains a tear of the fibers of the ligament.  Sometimes the ligament can pull off the bone insertion or sometimes it can tear in its midsubstance.  When a tear of the ligament occurs, there is initial bleeding into the area, and this starts the healing process.  If the healing process can proceed normally, the ankle ligament wil heal quickly and function will return quickly.

Sometimes the healing is very slow or stops altogether.  This creates a problem.  Now the area remains painful, swollen, and possibly unstable.  

There can also be injuries to some of the important tendons in the area as well.  The Peroneal tendons can sometimes become injured in an ankle sprain.  If this tendon does not quickly heal on its own it will cause continued pain and dysfunction.  This can seriously effect proper function of the foot and ankle.  It is necessary for this tendon to work properly and keep the foot and ankle in balance.


Injuries to the Peroneal Tendons on the lateral side of the ankle can also cause pain in this area

If these structures do not heal completely and properly there will be continued pain and swelling.  Additionally the instability can cause early wear and tear, or arthritis, of the ankle joint.  This will then cause even more chronic pain and damage to the area.

It is critical that these structures heal.  The faster they heal, the faster you can return to normal function, work, or sports.  

The ideal treatment and intervention would be to have something that allows the injured structures to heal faster and completely in the way they were meant to heal.  This is where Regenerative Injection Therapy and Platelet Rich Plasma comes into play.  

The Problem With Traditional Treatment for Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains cause significant disability.  The best way to treat an ankle sprain is to minimize the healing time needed and prevent other complications.  

Rest, temporary splinting if needed, and icing are always a good idea initially after the injury.  The problem is often long term immobilization is recommended, which not only leads to stiffness, but also can cause ligaments to weaken and joint cartilage to become damaged. Then if there are residual symptoms surgery is recommended which is quite invasive and causes irreversible changes in how the foot and ankle function.

A much better treatment option is to optimize the initial healing process, or if the healing process slows down too much, to stimulate it and continue to full healing of the normal structures.  

This is where Regenerative Injection Therapy and Platelet Rich Plasma comes into play.   

Stem Cell and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for Ankle Sprains

In an ankle sprain, important ligaments that stabilize the ankle are injured and torn.  These MUST heal properly in order for the ankle to return to normal function.  Sometimes these ligaments do not heal quickly enough or the healing slows down and even stops, leading to continued problems.  Platelet Rich Plasma, with its growth factors and cells, stimulate and “kickstart” the body’s normal healing process to heal these critical ligaments naturally.

The use of Platelet Rich Plasma in acute (recent) ankle sprains will speed up the healing of these injuries significantly, and allow earlier return to activities. (AAOS Now April 2014) (Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc Nov 2015)

If an ankle sprain has occured and symptoms are persisting for a longer time, this will create long lasting problems unless it can be corrected.  Very often this is caused by residual instability because the ligaments never healed completely and are lax.  By performing a Regenerative Injection into the injured structures, these can now heal without more invasive treatment.  The ankle can become stable again and symptoms will improve.

Sometimes, in a situation where a surgical procedure has been performed, people can have continued symptoms, making walking difficult, let alone participating in sporting activities.  In situations like this, Platelet Rich Plasma Injections can be quite beneficial to heal the damaged structures and allow symptoms to improve.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is safe since it comes from your own body.  PRP offers distinct advantages in the treatment of Ankle Sprains.  The use of PRP injection can help an ankle injury heal faster if used early on, or if the ankle problem becomes chronic, can help get the injury to progress with the healing process and relieve symptoms.

Platelet RIch Plasma should be strongly considered for the Treatment of Ankle Ligament and Tendon Injuries.

This new treatment option is now available to treat these ankle problems.  Regenerative Medicine and the use of Platelet Rich Plasma Injection is a game-changing treatment option that is offered at the Regenerative Medicine and Joint Preservation Center of Santa Rosa.

Call us at (707) 978-4322.  We can talk to you about your problem and what we have to offer to get you better and heal naturally.

Runner Feet

Regenerative Injection Therapy with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) for your ankle injury can get you back to what you love to do.

©         Regenerative Medicine and Joint Preservation Center of Santa Rosa    2017