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Ankle Anatomy

The ankle joint is composed of three bones: the tibia, fibula, and talus. The ligaments that provide ankle stability on the lateral aspect of the foot are the anterior talofibular, calcaneofibular, and posterior talofibular ligaments. The medial ligament is the deltoid ligament. Multiple muscles are associated with the movement of the foot and ankle.

diagram of human ankleThree bones make up the ankle joint:

  • Tibia ("shin bone")
  • Fibula (small bone on the outside of your ankle)
  • Talus (a foot bone)

The tibia and fibula have specific parts that make up the ankle:

  • Medial malleolus - inside part of the tibia
  • Posterior malleolus - back part of the tibia 
  • Lateral malleolus - end of the fibula

Two joints are involved in ankle fractures:

  • Ankle joint
  • Syndesmosis - the joint between the tibia and fibula, which is held together by ligaments

Multiple ligaments help make the ankle joint stable:

  • Lateral collateral ligaments - anterior talofibular ligament, calcaneofibular ligament, talocalcaneal ligament, posterior talocalcaneal ligament and posterior talofibular ligament
  • Medial collateral ligaments - tibionavicular ligament, calcaneotibial ligament, anterior talotibial ligament, and posterior talotibial ligament

Above content provided by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons  in partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted March 2011

Contact Information

Carl J. Shapiro Department of Orthopaedics
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215