Ankle | Definition, Etymology, Functions & Anatomy


The ankle is the part of our body. It is also identified as tarsus. It can move in two main directions. Also, it assists us in the motion of the legs and feet.


It is the joint that connects the leg with the foot. Sometimes, it refers to the tibiotalar joint or talocrural joint.


This word originates from Old English ancleow of Germanic origin in Middle English related to Dutch enkel and German Enkel from an Indo-European root. It is probably connected in origin with the Latin angulus or Greek αγκυλος which means bent.


  • Anklebone
  • Astragalus
  • Talus
  • Tarsus


This joint permits us to move the feet in the upward and downward directions. It works as a shock absorber. Also, it lessens the friction and is responsible for balancing and constancy of the body. It allows the inferior leg to interrelate with the earth.  The motions that happen in this joint are:

  • Plantar flexion
  • Dorsi flexion
  • Inversion
  • Eversion

Anatomy of the Ankle


The two parts of the ankle are:

  • Upper Ankle
  • Lower Ankle

Upper Ankle:

It permits us to move our feet upwards and downwards and also a little to the side. It is formed by three bones which are:

  • Tibia
  • Fibula
  • Talus

Lower Ankle:

It is the joint where the three bones of the upper ankle meet. This cannot move as much as its upper part. It permits the foot to slope to the side a little and also turns inwards and outwards.


The three bones in the joint of the ankle are:

Tibia: It is also known as shinbone. It forms the inner part of the tarsus.

Fibula: It is a calf bone. It is the smaller than two bones in the lower leg.

Talus: This bone makes the inferior part of the joint of the ankle.


The muscles in the tarsus are divided into two compartments which are:

  • Anterior Compartment
  • Posterior Compartment

Anterior Compartment:

This compartment has the muscles that control dorsiflexion and move the foot up to your body which involve:

  • Tibialis anterior
  • Extensor digitorum longus
  • Extensor hallucis longus
  • Peroneus tertius

Posterior Compartments:

This compartment has the muscles that control plantar flexion. It moves the foot downward away from the body. It has 7 muscles further which are split into superficial and deep compartments.

Superficial Compartment

This compartment has three muscles of the back leg which are:

  • Gastrocnemius
  • Soleus
  • Plantaris

Deep Compartment:

This compartment includes four muscles which are:

  • Popliteus
  • Flexor digitorum longus
  • Flexor hallucis longus
  • Tibialis posterior


The five nerves that surround the ankles are:

  • Saphenous nerve
  • Tibial nerve
  • Sural nerve
  • Superficial peroneal nerve
  • Deep peroneal nerve

Blood Supply:

The three arteries which supply blood to the ankles are:

  • Anterior tibial artery
  • Posterior tibial artery
  • Peroneal artery

Ankle Pain

This pain feels like a discomfort in any of the parts of the ankles. This can be easily treated with home treatments such as by taking rest, pain killers, compression, and by placing an ice pack.

Sprained Ankle

This condition can happen when we stretch further than their limit and tear. This can destroy the hard bands of ligaments that assist us to hold the bones of the ankles together. This injury takes almost 1 to 3 weeks to heal.

Ankle Disorders

  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Bunions
  • Midfoot arthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Hammertoe
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Flat feet
  • Osteochondral lesion
  • Fracture
  • Gout

Ankle Exercises

  • Heel raises
  • Single leg balance
  • Calf raises
  • Towel stretch
  • Toe taps
  • Standing calf stretch
  • Achilles
  • Band Stretch
  • Towel scrunches


  • His ankle is broken.
  • Saba twisted her ankle and fell.
  • His ankles are black.
  • Sana felt sprained in her ankle.
  • Ankles sustain the equilibrium of the body.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Mention the common tests done to ankles.

  • X-rays
  • Ultrasounds
  • Joint aspiration
  • CT scans
  • MRIs
  • Blood tests

Mention the scientific name of the ankle.

Its scientific name is Articulatio talocruralis.

Mention the reasons for the swelling of ankles.

  • Prolonged standing
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Pregnancy
  • Being overweight
  • Increase in age

Mention the number of joints in the ankle of the foot.

There are almost 33 joints in the ankle of the foot.

What ligaments are in the ankles?

  • Medial ligaments
  • Lateral ligaments
  • Syndesmotic ligaments

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