Ankle Anatomy and How to Reduce Injuries

May 5, 2022
Professional basketball player Joel Berry.

A group of top prospects walk into a gym. It’s a new setting for them, their first day of practice with a new team, coach, school, and even higher expectations to live up to their full potential. “Men, this is how you put your shoes and socks on” they hear while standing on the baseline.

Think of the ways each player reacted at that point. An action they had taken for granted for so long would be a first lesson in how to start with the basics. Coach John Wooden taught each of his teams this small exercise that would change their way of thinking.

To understand the ways you can improve your overall health and keep your mind and body in check, you have to start with a few fundamentals. Having knowledge of the ways your body works, memorizing basic ankle anatomy, and learning ways to reduce injury and stress on your joints can go a long way.

Ankle Anatomy Explained

Ankles are made up of ligaments and muscles that provide movement, flexibility, and strength. As seen in the image below you can start to see the complexity in ankle anatomy when it comes to the names of each ligament.

In this beginner journey of understanding the “what and why” of ankle injuries, you don’t need to know Latin. Here are some practical definitions and applications for understanding the breakdowns in ankle health.

Your ankle is a large joint in the body where three main bones come together. Your tibia (shin), fibula, and talus (above the heel) all make up parts of the ankle. Ligaments (made of tissue) attach each bone together between the leg and the foot. The ankle joint is what allows your foot to be able to move up and down.

Ligaments, muscles, tendons, and bones all come together to keep your ankles working properly. A slight change in any of these can leave your joint vulnerable or cause pain and discomfort.

What Causes Ankle Pain?

Think about the stress that is put upon the foot and ankle each day. These two parts of your body provide a base for standing and leverage while walking, running, or jumping.

The weight and stress of common movements take a toll over time.

Ankle pain can occur for a variety of reasons. Most commonly in sports, ankle pain comes after a new injury or reinjury has occurred. In most cases, your body will recover easily with simple treatment and ankle exercises. In severe cases and with chronic issues over time, athletes may have to resort to surgery or other options. With increased physical activity, more strength and stability is necessary. This is why athletes must take precaution to avoid lingering ankle injuries and further damage.

How to Protect Ankles

No matter what sport you play, ankle injuries are common and can come with setbacks. In 2010, Buster Posey of the SF Giants was named the NL Rookie of the Year and won a World Series. The following year, a home plate collision caused major injury, including torn ligaments in his ankle. Posey had only played 45 games that season. The following year, he made an outstanding comeback and would go on to win the NL batting title.

Setbacks will occur and when they happen, it can be hard to be optimistic. Just remember, the athletes you admire most likely have gone through a similar injury. Recovery and a positive attitude are key when gaining more strength and confidence in your comeback story.

Building ankle strength is important to stay healthy and active. Protecting one of your most used joints will allow you to stay in the game. Sports ankle injuries are so common that many times, ankle protection has become a routine for many athletes. Whether an athlete chooses to tape their ankle for every game, or commonly wear an ankle brace, there are many remedies and rituals.

Depending on the advice and knowledge passed on from trainers, parents, or coaches - ways of protecting your ankles can vary. Some of these ankle support techniques are living in the past. There are many new ways to be cautious and still perform at your best with modern equipment.

Ankle Anatomy Support without Restriction

Have you rolled an ankle before? While playing through pain is common and acceptable, restriction in movement may have adverse effects. “Just tape it” most people will say. But there’s a better way to stay proactive in your ankle protection and maintain normal motion.

Up your game with a secure fitting ankle system that mimics human anatomy. We’ve worked with a top athletic trainer to reduce injury and not restrict your potential.

Try the IFAST® stabilizer for comfort, stability, and protection.


Southern California Orthopedic Institute- Anatomy of the Ankle

Cleveland Clinic - Ankle Pain

Men’s Journal- 13 Athletes Who Made Amazing Comebacks After Career-threatening Injuries