Child Ankle Pain has many causes. The ankle is an important weight-bearing joint formed by three bones: the tibia, the fibula and the talus. The end of the tibia (the shin bone) and the end of the smaller fibula bone wrap around the talus, the major bone, to form the joint. Ankle injury and damage can be both painful and debilitating for young and old alike. Ankle pain in children is often caused by activity-related injuries during sports. Some ankle conditions may be related to growing pains, due to the quick growth a child’s body undergoes.
Your child’s ankle pain may be caused by a number of injuries and conditions an Orthopaedic Podiatrist can diagnose and treat. Chris Parish, our Orthopaedic Podiatrist, has over 23 years experience in diagnosing and treating injury and ankle pain in children.
To discuss your child’s ankle pain or injury in more detail, or to make an appointment to see Chris, please contact us by phone or send us a message
- Ankle Sprain in Children
- Treatment of a Sprained Ankle in Children
- Ankle Fracture or Broken Ankle in Children
- Treatment of Ankle Fracture or Broken Ankle in Children
Ankle sprains are the most common type of sprains in children. A sprain is an injury to the ligaments (the rope-like strands of tissue) that connect the bones together. As with adults, when a child sprains their ankle, the ankle usually twists inward, causing small tears in the ligaments.
Sprains like these are common sporting injuries, especially in sports that involve running and jumping, landing from a jump, changing direction quickly, or lots of stop-starts. They are also common in children with poor foot function, especially oversupination (rolling outwards of the feet), which places excessive forces on the ankle bones and ligaments.
If your child has sprained their ankle they will probably be in pain. There may also be swelling and bruising and if the sprain is severe, they may not be able to put any weight on the affected leg.
- REST the foot completely
- You should apply ICE to the affected area straight away (through a tea towel so as to avoid ‘ice burn’).
- If they allow you to, use a COMPRESSION bandage to support the ankle
- ELEVATE it above the hip by resting it on a pillow whilst they sit down.
Your Orthopaedic Podiatrist can advise whether X-Rays or further treatment will be necessary.
If your child is unable to walk more than a few steps on the affected leg, if he or she is in a lot of pain, if they feel any numbness, or if there is any redness or swelling over a bony area of the foot, then go to the Accident and Emergency Department at your local hospital.
If your child is prone to ankle sprains, a proper recovery program designed by an Orthopaedic Podiatrist will help to prevent future occurrences.
Custom-made orthotic insoles, prescription insoles that fit inside your child’s shoes, can help to treat the underlying cause and correct poor foot function.
An ankle fracture is a break in one or more of the bones in your child’s ankle.
Fractures are more common in children than sprains. This is because a child’s ligaments (these are the rope-like strands that bind bones together to make joints strong) are usually stronger than the growing parts of their bones.
Fractures usually occur in the tibia (the shin bone) or the fibula bone on the outside of the leg.
The bony bumps on either side of the ankle are called (1) the medial malleolus at the end of the tibia and (2) the lateral malleolus at the end of the fibula. The ends of these bones form a cup for the talus to sit within.
There are many different types of fractures and breaks – each one must be treated individually depending on the area and bones involved.
If you suspect your child may have fractured or broken their ankle, see your GP immediately, or take them to the Accident and Emergency Department at your local hospital.
Bone diseases, such as osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease), can also cause fractures in children but these are rare.
Common symptoms of a fracture include pain on touch, swelling and bruising, and your child probably won’t be able to put any weight on the affected leg.
Depending on how bad the fracture or break is, your child may have to wear a splint, to allow for continued swelling, and eventually a cast to help rest and protect the foot.
It is vitally important to achieve and maintain alignment of a broken ankle so as to prevent future problems such as arthritis. If the fracture is badly displaced it will need to be reset using local anaesthetic.
Crutches and rest are almost always necessary following a fracture or break.
Your Orthopaedic Podiatrist will be able to recommend an individual treatment plan that best suits your child’s needs and speeds their recovery.
Chris Parish, our Orthopaedic Podiatrist, has over 23 years experience in diagnosing and treating injury and ankle pain in children. To discuss your child’s ankle pain or injury in more detail, or to make an appointment to see Chris, please contact us by phone or send us a message