Ask the Docs | Chipped ankle bone

Presented by Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, team physicians for the Chicago Bulls

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Also: Athletico Injury Report

Patient question:

Yesterday I was playing basketball and I twisted my foot. It moved in the motion of a twisted ankle but no ankle pain, it was just pain on the outside of my foot. Now my ankle keeps locking and causing a lot of pain. Any ideas?

Ask the Docs

Dr. David Garras:

Without a physical examination and X-rays, it is difficult to determine the cause based on symptoms alone. However, I have treated a patient with a similar type of injury. A through exam and MRI revealed a chipped bone in the ankle joint of this particular patient. A chipped bone is often a sign that a ligament may be injured, too. A sharp twist of the ankle or direct impact that fractures one of the bony ankle knobs is a common injury resulting in an ankle bone fracture. Many athletes such as basketball players, because of the physical demands placed on their ankles including the sharp pivoting motion, are at risk of ankle fractures.

Treatment options:

Following a physical exam by a foot and ankle specialist, X-rays and/or MRI, once the severity of the injury is determined, one course of treatment would be to cast or boot for a few weeks. Physical therapy may be recommended to help rebuild ankle strength and restore flexibility. If the chipped bone continues to hurt after three months from the time of injury or the structure of the ankle is disrupted, a foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon may recommend surgery to remove the loose body or chipped bone.

Dr. David Garras
Dr. David Garras

For more information about Dr. David Garras, foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon and the Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush sports medicine physicians, call 877 MD BONES (877.632.6637) or visit

The information contained on this page is intended only for general public education, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for direct medical advice. This information should not replace necessary medical consultations with a qualified orthopedic physician.


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