Torn ligament on the foot


One of the most common injuries and about 20 percent of all sports injuries are ligament injuries of the upper ankle. The foot is connected to the lower leg by several ligaments, which also stabilize the joints. The band on the outer ankle consists of three parts. These run from the fibula to the talus and to the heel bone. There is also a ligament on the inside of the ankle and another important ligament is the so-called syndesmosis, which connects the shin bone with the fibula. In most cases, a torn ligament on the foot affects the ligament of the outer ankle; injuries to the other ligaments are relatively rare. Typically, the foot tears ligament due to an inward twisting of the foot. Such a "sprain" of the foot leads to an overload of the outer ligament, which in extreme cases can even tear. It is usually not so easy to distinguish between a torn ligament and a strained ligament.

Torn ligament on the outside of the foot

Due to its anatomy, the foot tends to inside to bend over.

The direction of the ankle is determined by the course of the Achilles tendon given and can be followed on tiptoe when the calf muscles are tense.

The reason for this is a muscle imbalance that Calf muscles predominate and pulls the foot inwards, the weaker shin muscles pull the foot outwards and upwards.

This imbalance is for example when wearing shoes with high heels favored, which is why one is doing it folds faster.
Even from the jump, for example during a sporting activity like playing football, it usually comes to one Twist of the foot inside, whereby the outer ligament at the ankle is overstretched or even tears. The front part of the outer ankle ligament is most often affected, the rear part is almost never affected.

Torn ligament in the child's foot

Children often tore ligaments in their foot, especially when they do very active are or sports like Soccer operate.
Even in children, the most common injury is one strain or a Crack of the outer band.

In contrast to children, in the elderly there is in extreme cases one Fracture of the outer ankle, Serious injuries in children lead to a Injury to the growth plate.
This results in a (albeit very small) Risk of stunted growth.

Damaging the growth plate can lead to a increased or decreased growth in length of the bone come, one Deviation in leg length to the other leg up to an inch can be caused by it.

But the child's skeleton knows one high trend towards reparations causing consequential damage from an injury to the growth plate with the help of the appropriate treatment largely avoided can be.

In most cases, children have “only” torn ligaments on their feet, which was caused by conservative treatment using a splint without consequences again heals.

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Athletes (joggers, soccer players, etc.) are particularly often affected by diseases of the foot. In some cases, the cause of the foot discomfort cannot be identified at first.
Therefore, the treatment of the foot (e.g. Achilles tendonitis, heel spurs, etc.) requires a lot of experience.
I focus on a wide variety of foot diseases.
The aim of every treatment is treatment without surgery with a complete recovery of performance.

Which therapy achieves the best results in the long term can only be determined after looking at all of the information (Examination, X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, etc.) be assessed.

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Figure torn ligament

Figure torn ligament of the right foot from behind (A) and outside (B)
  1. Front fibula -
    Ankle ligament -
    Lig. Fibulotalare anterius
  2. Fibula-calcaneus
    Tape -
    Calcaneofibular ligament
  3. Posterior fibula
    Ankle ligament -
    Posterior fibulotalar ligament
  4. Heel bone - Calcaneus
  5. Ankle bone - Talus
  6. Outer ankle -
    (= Fibula bone)
    Lateral malleolus
  7. Fibula - Fibula
  8. Shin - Tibia
  9. Cuboid bone -
    Os cuboideum
  10. Scaphoid (of the foot) -
    Navicular bone
  11. Inner ankle -
    (= Shin bone) -
    Medial malleolus

    I - I - Upper ankle
    (Hinge line blue) -
    Articulatio talocruralis
    II - II - Lower ankle
    (Hinge line purple) -

You can find an overview of all Dr-Gumpert images at: medical illustrations


A torn ligament on the foot initially manifests itself as severe pain, which is directly caused by an injury. Most of the time, the foot or ankle swells very quickly and severely. This pressure or the course of the accident can tear blood vessels and lead to a bruise, the foot turns red-bluish in color. Most of the time it is very painful to put weight on the foot, but it is possible. The symptoms of a torn ligament and a strained ligament hardly differ at first. The extent of the pain cannot necessarily be used to determine the severity of the injury, as a torn ligament is often more painful than a torn ligament. It is very typical for a torn ligament on the foot that a change in mobility can be felt in the ankle, that is, it appears unstable and the step on the foot becomes unsafe.


A swelling of the ankle or entire foot as well as related strong pain are typical of a ligament injury on the foot.

At a Ligament strain Usually just step lighter swelling than a torn ligament, which can be accompanied by severe swelling and a throbbing sensation.

Typically, a torn ligament results in a bruise (Hematoma) as the tissue is severely damaged and blood leaks into the surrounding tissue.

In order to keep the swelling as low as possible and to minimize the associated pain, the injury should immediately cooled become. A slightly compressing bandage can also prevent excessive swelling of the joint; under no circumstances should too much pressure be applied so that the blood supply is not restricted.
That too Elevating the foot leads to a reduction in swelling.

The swelling of the foot lasts for around a torn ligament two to five days During this time, the swelling is usually accompanied by severe pain, which also decreases as the swelling subsides.


A torn ligament on the foot is usually caused by extreme movement in the ankle. This puts a lot of strain on the ligaments and the normal range of motion is exceeded - the ligament breaks. The most common mechanism on the foot is twisting an ankle. But also external violence such as a kick on the foot or leg can become a Ligament injury to lead.

You don't necessarily have to do a sporting activity to tear a ligament on your foot. Even putting the foot down incorrectly or slipping on a wet floor in everyday life can lead to a torn ligament on the foot. Sports that lead to ligament injuries on the foot particularly often are above all Soccer, to jog, To ski, tennis and squash. The rapid changes of direction cause and Stop-and-go movements In these types of sport, as well as on any uneven surfaces, the ligaments on the foot are heavily stressed, which can lead to a tear. But also genetic causes, like Misaligned feet or soft ligaments, can increase the risk of torn ligaments in the foot.


The beginning of the diagnosis of a ligament tear is this Anamnesis interview. Above all, the doctor would like to find out how the accident happened in order to be able to rule out the first structural lesions.

This is followed by the clinical examination in which the stability test is in the foreground. After that, whether it is a stable or unstable ligament injury, the Resilience tested. Here it is relevant to know whether passive or active mobility is possible.

If a hematoma has formed, this point can be punctured in order to be able to determine from the blood whether the ligament is old or fresh. The knowledge that it is a fresh ligament tear can have a positive effect on the prognosis. On the one hand, the range of treatments is greater and, on the other hand, the chances of recovery are better. The further procedure provides for an X-ray. The held recording is preferably used. Since you can only see your ligament rupture at the point of attachment of the bone with a normal X-ray, the "held image" also helps to identify ligament tears in other locations. To do this, the joint whose ligament structure is torn must be brought into an extreme position so that misalignments due to the torn ligament can be identified. In principle it is MRI of the foot (= Magnetic resonance tomography) the more advantageous diagnostic tool, as it shows tissue and organs and a torn ligament is easier to recognize. Experienced doctors can also diagnose a torn ligament using sonography.


In the case of a ligament injury on the foot, a few apply immediately after the accident or injury First aid measures to be observed. The foot should be cooled, carefully bandaged and elevated. In this way, further swelling can be reduced and unpleasant pain caused by the high pressure of the swollen tissue can be avoided. The so-called is easy to remember PECH scheme: Break (immediate relief), ice (cooling), compression (light pressure bandage), elevation.

It is essential to take pressure off the foot immediately and not, for example, to continue the soccer game that has already started. In addition, a doctor should usually be consulted relatively quickly in order to avoid consequential damage. The doctor usually diagnoses a torn ligament in the foot through an examination that shows increased mobility in the joint because of the Belt stabilization is restricted. Often a X-ray on which a torn ligament cannot be seen, but can be ruled out due to the injury to the bone.

Conservative therapy

Usually a ligament rupture occurs conservative treated and no surgery performed. Special walking rails, so-called Orthotics, enable safe movement in the foot without endangering the injured area. This gentle treatment allows the foot to roll normally without twisting it again. This becomes a Muscle breakdown This splint is usually worn day and night for about six weeks. Physiotherapy therapies can have a supportive effect, and simple sporting activities should also be carried out to further build up the muscles. However, these should be discussed with the attending physician in order to avoid overloading the damaged foot.

OP for a torn ligament on the foot

Especially with injuries to several ligaments on the foot or in competitive athletes, in which the foot and ankle joints are heavily stressed, often becomes one surgery devices.

In the case of a complicated course of a torn ligament on the foot, accompanying injuries or for surgical planning, a Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) prepared. With this examination, the ligaments depicted very precisely become.
The operation of a torn ligament on the foot carries the same risks as any operation, for example Infections or Wound healing disordersabout which the person concerned must be informed in advance.

At a very unstable joint or at one Injury to bone or cartilage Surgical treatment can be useful on the ankle.
An operation is recommended, especially when the stress level is high, such as with a professional athlete. Very rarely, the torn ligament does not heal properly with conservative treatment and an operation may be necessary as a result.

The operation consists of one Seam of the torn tape and possibly one Fixation of injured bone or cartilage parts. If the ligament is severely damaged, the body's own tendon can be transplanted to the site and the torn ligament can be reconstructed. After the surgery, the foot will be similar to conservative treatment for about six weeks immobilized.

Overall they are Long term results for torn ligaments on the foot after conservative therapy comparable with those after an operation.

Cure and prognosis

Often, after appropriate first aid measures, after an ankle injury, it comes to an imminent occurrence The pain subsides.
However, in most cases it is nevertheless it makes sense to see a doctor.

If the problem is not just a pulled muscle but a torn ligament, it may be treated inappropriately permanent joint problems come.

The ligaments on the foot are extremely important for the stability of the ankle. If a torn ligament heals poorly, the joint can remain permanently unstable.
In that case, it comes next repeatedly to ankle injuries at risk for renewed ligament injuries.
This can be a significant impairment in everyday life, at work and in sports. In addition, incorrect loading of the unstable joint can lead to painful joint wear (osteoarthritis) with wear and tear on the protective joint cartilage.

Basically, however, a torn ligament on the foot heals with the appropriate treatment very good and without consequences out.
The leg is allowed to go again careful will be charged as soon as the Complaints subsided are.

A simple rule says that everything allowed is what does not hurt. Because of this, the pain should Not with medication stunned because early overload can prolong the healing process.

Sports activities that put strain on the injured ankle should only be carried out after the rest and healing phase (after six weeks) can be operated again, otherwise there is another risk of ligament damage.


Well-trained shin muscles are the most important stabilization for the ankle joints and the foot. In order to protect yourself effectively against torn ligaments, it is therefore very important to strengthen the calf muscles. Anyone who has ever had a torn ligament can wear special sports shoes with more support or a supportive bandage to support them during sporting activities. Special sensorimotor exercises have also proven effective in preventing ligament tears in the foot. For example, balancing on a balance board can be very useful; in conjunction with movements that are performed at the same time, such as catching a ball, important movement patterns are automated and the ankle becomes more stable. Also, wearing high heel shoes should be avoided as it shortens the calf muscles and increases the risk of ligament injuries.