The Woodlands (281) 292-4944 | Magnolia (281) 789-4956

Certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery

2 min read

Frequently Asked Questions About the Medial and Lateral Malleolus

picture of feet standing in grass

While your foot and ankle area may be a small part of your body, these structures are made up of any different structures, joints and bones. Two of the bones that play an important role in the structure of your foot and ankle are the medial malleolus and the lateral malleolus. Unfortunately though, while they are important, they are bones that many people have never heard of, or do not fully understand. Here are a few common questions you may have about these bones and the answers to the questions you may have.

What Are the Medial Malleolus and Lateral Malleolus and Where Are They Located?

The medial malleolus and lateral malleolus are bones located in the lower part of your extremities. The medial malleolus is formed by the lower part of your tibia and makes up the inner side of the ankle. The lateral malleolus is formed by the lower section of the fibula and makes up the outer side of the ankle. While both the medial and lateral malleolus are two separate structures, many people simply use the term malleolus to identify the entire bone structure of the ankle. For example, if you sustain an ankle fracture, the doctor may simply tell you you have a malleolus fracture, rather than identifying whether it is a medial malleolus or lateral malleolus structure.

What Are the Most Common Ways You Can Injure the Medial and Lateral Malleolus?

Many people assume that the most common ways to injure the medial and lateral malleolus are through sports. But, you may be surprised to learn that this is not the case. The most common way that medial and lateral malleolus fractures occur is due to falls. This includes slip and fall or trip and fall accidents. Another common way that this part of the body becomes fractured is due to car accidents. Finally, sports and various methods of exercise can lead to fractures and stress fractures to these parts of the body.

When Should You Visit a Foot and Ankle Specialist for Potential Medial Or Lateral Malleolus Injuries?

In some cases, it will be obvious that you have fractured your medial or lateral malleolus. There may be visible deformities on these two ankle bones. In other cases, medial and lateral malleolus fractures can mimic the symptoms of twisted and sprained ankles, including pain, swelling, bruising and tenderness, especially when trying to put weight on the ankle. If you have these symptoms and suspect that you may have fractured the area or you have a sprain or strain that does not improve and/or worsens, you should visit a professional. An x-ray is the only way to definitively determine if you have sustained a fracture to your medial or lateral malleolus. 

Have you injured your medial or lateral malleolus? Are you looking for a doctor to help heal your injury or help you avoid repetitive injuries in the area? Here at Sweeney Foot and Ankle Specialists, with locations in The Woodlands and Magnolia, Texas, we can help you with all of your foot and ankle care. Call our office today to schedule an appointment.