Sporting injuries of the foot and ankle

Author(s): Dr Kannan Rajesparan

Hospital: University College London Hospital

Reference: RAD Magazine, 47, 551, 24


The ankle and foot play a vital role in lower limb movement and directional change. During normal walking, the ankle and foot complex bears a force of up to five times body weight, and during running this increases to up to 13 times body weight.

Sporting activities are associated with large multi-directional forces at the ankle and foot, which place significant stress on the static and dynamic stabilisers that can be commonly injured. The high energy involved in a significant proportion of sporting injuries often results in injury of multiple stabilising structures.

Clinical history and examination are essential to identify the mechanism of injury and likely structures involved. Imaging plays an increasingly important role in these injuries, not only in their diagnosis, but also in the assessment of severity/grade to guide management decisions, detection of other associated injuries and follow-up.

This article looks at frequent mechanisms of injury during sporting activities that give rise to common ankle and foot pathology seen at imaging.

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