(214) 466-7391

Dr. Hibbitts
Ankle Injury Specialist

Sunnyvale, Texas & Greater Dallas Area
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Ankle Anatomy
Most Common Sports-Related Injuries
First Aid for Ankle Injuries
Ankle Diagnostic Tests
Nonsurgical Ankle Injury Treatments
Surgical Treatments for Ankle Injuries

Ankle Injury Specialist | Sports Ankle Injury Specialist & Chronic Ankle Pain Treatment

If you're dealing with ankle pain or other ankle problems, whether caused by a sports-related injury, an accident, or some trauma, CONTACT US to meet with our highly-regarded ankle injury specialist and trusted ankle doctor, Dr. John Hibbitts.

Introducing Dr. John M. Hibbitts, Texas Ankle Injury Specialist

Texas board-certified orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, Dr. John M. Hibbitts, has helped patients recover from ankle injuries and other ankle conditions since 1994. An experienced foot & ankle doctor, he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He has provided specialized ankle care to patients in Texas, Ohio, and South Carolina.

Dr. Hibbitts, not only an accomplished ankle specialist but also an athlete himself, has spent years training in karate, Jiu Jitsu, and rugby, in addition to being a father of three children. He knows how vital your ankle is to everything you do, and how injury and pain, including foot pain can limit mobility and enjoyment of life. As a sports medicine specialist, Dr. Hibbitts has worked with hundreds of patient-athletes of all ages to diagnose and treat injuries, both recent and those lingering issues caused by “old injuries” from “years ago.”

Get back to your daily and athletic pursuits. Call the Sunnyvale Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center today for comprehensive foot & ankle care!

Service in Sunnyvale & Dallas, Texas

As a growing ankle pain specialist near Dallas, Texas, the Sunnyvale Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center is conveniently located near Highway 80 and I-635. 

To best serve our local communities, we:  

  • Offer discounts to first responders, firefighters, and law enforcement professionals.  
  • Accept workers’ compensation payments from Texas employers.  
  • Welcome student-athletes from Sunnyvale Independent School District and Rowlett School District, including Rowlett High School, Sunnyvale High School, and Horn High School.  
  • Accept TRICARE, the military insurance for active-duty personnel and veterans.  

Dr. Hibbitts and the team at Sunnyvale Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center proudly serve as your local premier ankle injury doctors. 

Your “ankle” is actually several complicated structures that attach the leg and foot.  

Ankle injuries can be caused by running, jumping, turning suddenly, directly impacting with an outside object or person, and hyper-extending the joint. If you experience ankle tightness, pain, and inflammation, it means you need to see an experienced ankle injury specialist. 


Two joints comprise the ankle: 

  • True ankle joint 
  • Subtalar joint 

Ankle Joint Bones

Bones in the true ankle joint:  

  • Tibia (“shinbone”) 
  • Fibula 
  • Talus 

Bones in the subtalar joint:  

  • Talus 
  • Calcaneus

Ligaments of the Ankle

Ligaments attach bones to each other. The ankle’s major ligaments:  

  • Anterior tibiofibular ligament: Attaches the tibia and fibula. 
  • Lateral collateral ligaments: Attach the fibula and calcaneus. 
  • Deltoid ligaments: Attach the talus and calcaneus. 

Articular Cartilage in the Ankle

Articular cartilage is a compact, flexible tissue that covers the ends of bones, protecting them from friction during movement. Because many bones join at the ankle, cartilage plays a major role in all ankle and foot movements. However, ankle cartilage is thin and susceptible to damage with time and repeated injuries. 

Tendons of the Ankle

Tendons attach muscles to bones. In the ankle:  

  • Achilles tendon: Attaches the calf muscle to the calcaneus. 
  • Flexor hallicus longus & flexor digitorum: Attach the toes to the calcaneus. 
  • Peroneal tendons: Attach the structures along the bottom of the foot. 
  • Anterior & posterior tibialis tendons: Attach the tibia to the foot bones.  

These structures can easily be damaged and need the attention of an ankle injury specialist. Doctor Hibbitts and his team expertly diagnose the cause of your ankle pain and prepare the best treatment plan to get you quickly back up and going strong.

All Injuries (Especially Sports) Require an Ankle Injury Specialist

Injuries from athletics are called “sports injuries;” however, non-athletes also experience injury during exercise or accidents such as a slip-and-fall or an auto collision. Dr. Hibbitts and his ankle injury specialist team are prepared to treat all types of ankle pain. 

Most Common Sports-Related Ankle Injuries

The most common cause of sports-related injury is a lack of proper training and muscle preparation. When an athlete doesn’t stretch properly before engaging in exercise or neglects foot care , the tight muscles may not reach peak performance , causing types of foot and ankle joints to endure extra stress and strain.

This can lead to a sprained ankle, tendinitis, or even broken bones and dislocation. It is crucial to consult with ankle surgeons or an orthopedist specializing in orthopedic surgery for severe injuries, as neglecting these conditions could lead to deformities such as bunions or hammertoes.


When you overstretch or slightly tear the ligaments in your ankle, you experience an ankle sprain. A collision, sharp twist, or fall places excessive pressure on the joint, potentially leading to this common type of sprained ankle.


Overstretched or bruised tendons or muscles in your ankle, often through overuse, cause ankle strain. Sudden changes in direction during movement or a direct impact can also cause ankle strain. This is especially critical for diabetic individuals, as proper foot care is integral for them.

Ankle Fractures

Simple and complex fractures occur when the bones are partially or completely broken. Fractures can be caused by impact or excessive pressure.


Tendons sometimes become overstretched or irritated by repetitive movement, resulting in inflammation and “tendonitis.” This can happen in any tendon but can be especially problematic in the ankle’s Achilles tendon, leading to Achilles tendon injuries.


Bursae are the fluid-filled sacs that cushion and protect a joint’s tendons and ligaments from impact and friction. When the bursae become irritated and inflamed, the condition is called “bursitis.”

Cartilage Damage

Ankle articular cartilage can become scarred or inflamed after severe or repeated injuries. These deep lesions limit the blood flow through the ankle’s other soft tissues, causing complications and ongoing discomfort and weakness.

Untreated ankle injuries lead to long-term pain, mobility difficulties, stiffness, and other complications. Consult with our ankle injury specialist for a thorough examination and treatment plan.

Sports that Cause Ankle Injuries

Athletes of nearly every sport sustain heel pain and ankle injuries. Our sports ankle injury specialists see patient-athletes who participate in nearly every sport and type of exercise, including:

Baseball, softball, & kickball
Gymnastics, cheerleading, & dance
Track & field events/cross-country running
Long-distance cycling
Boxing & martial arts

Specialist for Ankle Injuries Recommendations to Avoid Sports-Related Injuries

Most sports-related injuries are caused by a few preventable, controllable factors. Dr. Hibbitts, like many ankle injury doctors, recommends the following to best protect yourself against common injuries: 

  • Stretch before (and after) exercise. For ankle injuries, it is especially important to stretch your hamstrings, calves, and quadriceps. 
  • Follow your exercise program, including rest days, allowing optimal conditions for strengthening muscles and joints. 
  • Wear proper-fitting protective gear, especially in contact sports. 
  • Wear tightly laced shoes that fit correctly. 
  • Maintain healthy nutrition – nutrients like potassium, calcium, and vitamin D have a meaningful impact on your ability to perform strenuous activity. 
  • Rest when injured or tired. Do not overexert your body or mind. Allow yourself appropriate healing time to recover from injuries or strain. 

First Aid for Ankle Injuries

If you are injured, stop any physical activity and treat it immediately with these first aid techniques. Don’t try to “walk it off”! You could complicate or worsen the problem.  

To help remember the steps for first aid, use the acronym “RICE.”  

Rest: If your ankle is tender and it is painful to put weight on it, intermittent rest is vital for recovery.
Ice: Ice helps reduce swelling and can decrease pain.
Compression: Wrap the affected ankle in a bandage that applies slight pressure to the joint to stabilize its movement.
Elevation: Raising the ankle above the heart reduces swelling and can assist with pain management. Rest the ankle on pillows while lying down to achieve the ideal position.

These first-aid techniques can help you manage your pain and stabilize your ankle until you can seek professional evaluation and treatment from an ankle injury specialist.  

Ankle Pain & Injury Diagnostic Tests

To diagnose your ankle injury and prescribe the appropriate treatment plan, Dr. Hibbitts may use one or more of the following imaging techniques:  

  • X-rays 
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan 
  • Arthrocentesis (fluid sample) 
  • Computerized Tomography (CT) scan 
  • Ultrasound imaging 

As a specialist in ankle injuries, Dr. Hibbitts examines your specific situation and medical history to determine the cause of your ankle pain and the best treatment for you. 

Nonsurgical Ankle Injury Treatments

You can treat common ankle injuries without surgery, but the best recovery happens with supervision from an ankle injury specialist. Ankles are complex structures, and once they’ve been injured, you can easily re-injure it through over-exertion. Many people find that combining nonsurgical methods provides the greatest relief and protection against ongoing ankle re-injuries.

Anti-Inflammatory & Pain Medicine

Nonprescription anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relief) medications treat most mild to moderate ankle pain and swelling. Many ankle injuries can be treated with rest and oral pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve). Pain relief creams, gels, and patches applied to the skin are also common over-the-counter treatments.  

For moderate to severe pain from your injury, our ankle pain specialist may prescribe a more potent medication.  

Physical Therapy

Physically manipulating the ankle in various positions along with controlled stretching and mild joint exercise helps strengthen muscle and encourage blood flow that increases joint mobility and flexibility. Physical therapy treatments can last from a few months immediately following an injury to one year or longer to recover from chronic, long-term pain. 

Cortisone (corticosteroid) Injections

An intramuscular injection of cortisone can treat many moderate-to-severe cases of ankle pain and inflammation. The results often last for several weeks and may need repeating if you have irreversible damage to your ankle’s soft tissues.

Stabilization Devices (“Boots”)

For long-term support to your injured ankle, Dr. Hibbitts may prescribe a wearable stabilization device, or “boot,” that will allow you to walk and place some pressure on your ankle while it is healing.  

Surgical Treatments for Ankle Injuries: Orthopaedic Solutions and Treatment Options

Frequently, ankle injuries are treatable without surgery. However, if nonsurgical treatments do not relieve your pain and restore your mobility, orthopaedic ankle injury specialist Dr. Hibbitts may recommend a surgical procedure as a part of your health care journey for the best long-term solution.

Dr. Hibbitts, an experienced ankle injury specialist, performs arthroplasty and arthroscopic ankle surgery whenever possible to minimize complications. Many of these treatment options, including ankle replacement and joint replacement are outpatient procedures under his professional health care management.

Common ankle surgeries include:  

  • Ankle ligament reconstruction & tightening 
  • Articular cartilage transplant 
  • Achilles tendon repair 

Surgery may not be right for everyone, but it may be the best solution for your ankle pain. Discuss your situation with ankle injury doctor John Hibbitts to determine your individualized treatment plan. He offers a range of treatment options and may suggest a course of action, such as ankle replacement or arthroplasty, depending on your specific condition.

About John Hibbitts MD

Dr. John Hibbitts earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology at the University of Texas at Austin. After earning his Medical Doctor degree, Dr. Hibbitts completed his residency at the University of South Carolina Department of Orthopedic Surgery and fellowship at the Cincinnati Sportsmedicine and Orthopedic Center.  

Dr. Hibbitts is a proud member of the following professional organizations:  

  • American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons 
  • American Medical Association 
  • South Carolina Medical Association 
  • Texas Medical Association 

For more than 20 years, Dr. Hibbitts has assisted hundreds of patients in their journey to a pain-free life after their ankle injuries. He is now establishing himself as an ankle injury specialist near Dallas, Texas (located in Sunnyvale).  

Let our team at the Sunnyvale Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center help you bounce back from a bad ankle, and get you back up and running around.  

© 2024, John Hibbitts, M.D. All Rights Reserved.