Tony: Ah, let me guess... You're that person in horror movie that decides that since all your friends are dead, you really need to go check out the demonic, breathing noise down in the basement.
Kate: Well, it beats being the girl who twists her ankle and gets everybody else killed.Any injury which causes a fleeing victim (call him Bob) to fall or become slowed, giving his pursuer a better chance to catch up. If the injury is crippling, other characters must decide whether to abandon Bob or assist him, knowing that supporting or carrying Bob will slow down other members of the group and put them in greater danger as well. A form of Broken Heel. Contrast Dramatic Slip.
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Anime and Manga
- Happened to Teana on the first episode of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, adding some complications to her B-Rank qualifying mage exam. Later gets mirrored in the last episodes of the season, though that one was less of a twisted ankle and more of a slashed up one courtesy of Deed.
- In the Library Island Story Arc of Mahou Sensei Negima!, this happened to Yue while the group was trying to get out of the place. Negi tried to give her a piggy-back only to immediately collapse under her weight. Huge Schoolgirl Kaede carried her instead.
- This happens to Levi in Attack on Titan when he saved Mikasa from the Female Titan before taking Eren and retreating. This results to him, being sidelined in the subsequent battles.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- Parodied in Scary Movie, where a very Genre Savvy victim mocks this trope while demonstrating it in a very extreme manner to the increasingly horrified killer, complete with a sickening snap and a protruding fracture.
- Resident Evil: Retribution. The housewife version of Alice hobbles out of a crashed car more slowly than the zombie horde charging up behind her, yet escapes into a nearby house due to a handy scene cut.
- V/H/S features two men in different segments (Clint in "Amateur Night" and Gary in "Tape 56") taking a tumble down the stairs and suffering a severe break while fleeing.
- In The Horror of Party Beach, female lead Elaine is searching for evidence of the film's monsters in a flooded quarry when said monsters suddenly appear from the water. As she attempts to flee, Elaine stumbles and gets her foot caught between two rocks; even after getting loose, the resulting injury prevents her from fleeing quickly enough to escape the monsters, and she only survives because the other characters show up in the nick of time.
- Both heroes and villain experience this towards the end of The Terminator. Kyle has a gunshot wound that slows him down; fortunately the Terminator has also damaged a leg, slowing down its pursuit. Then Sarah catches a piece of shrapnel in her thigh in the same explosion that blows the Terminator's legs off.
- Carve Her Name With Pride. Violette Szabo twists her ankle while being chased by German soldiers. As I Will Only Slow You Down, she stays to give covering fire so her compatriots in La Résistance can escape. This was Truth in Television, as she'd already damaged her ankle during a parachute drop.
- Happens in Predators to Edwin. He blunders into a trap designed to maim, and gets his leg messed up. However, the Genre Savvy hero Royce knows the point of the trap is to wound one person to slow the group down as they try to help him. Royce refuses to make himself vulnerable that way and leaves Edwin to be hobbled around by the sniper Isabelle.
- In the Misery-esque 2009 thriller Homecoming, a broken ankle is the injury that first leaves Elizabeth at the psychotic Shelby's tender mercies. In the process of "caring" for her "patient," Shelby intentionally aggravates the injury in order to torment Elizabeth, which significantly hampers Elizabeth's attempts to escape. After she fails to do so, Shelby further hobbles her by severing both her Achilles tendons with a pair of sharpened pruning shears.
- Alien: Covenant. A crewmember panics on encountering an alien, slipping in blood and falling to the floor, then slamming the airlock door on her foot when she tries to seal the room. She's able to free her foot in time but her ankle has been crushed, hobbling her efforts to flee when the alien breaks through the door.
- Septimus Heap: In Flyte, it's a twisted ankle that slows down Septimus to the point that he gets almost taken by the wolverines.
- In The Heroes of Olympus, Annabeth Chase injures her ankle chasing down the Mark of Athena.
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Ginny injures her ankle while fighting in the Department of Mysteries. Luna helps her along for a while, but when most everyone in the group is incapacitated, Ginny's left on the ground, SOL.
- Complained about in a Discworld book or two, generally by a female character who hates the cliche of the pretty heroine twisting her ankle and getting carried off by the hero and is determined not to be so soppy herself.
Live Action TV
- The Brady Bunch: Played literally in "The Big Sprain," when Alice trips over Bobby's Chinese checkers carelessly left on the floor.
- Twisted ankles are stereotypically the main method The Doctor's companions used to advance the plot and increase the tension in an episode: when being chased through the BBC Quarry by People in Rubber Suits, the girl could be counted on to twist her ankle at just the right moment. This doesn't actually happen half as often as people remember - it was played straight with Susan, and parodied by Sarah Jane in "The Android Invasion" in a scene where she twists her foot while running, goes down and then immediately turns out to be okay.
Say you'll help me save the worldFall and twist your ankleBe my Doctor Who Girl
- Happened to a male companion of the Eighth Doctor in the Expanded Universe, due to a gunshot wound to the leg, and the Doctor proceeded to carry him around bridal-style.
- When it happened (yes, to Susan) in The Five Doctors, it was a deliberate bit of Self-Parody, with no dramatic effect. Although the same can't be said of Sarah Jane's "needing" to be hauled up the gentlest slope in Wales with a rope and Bessie the car.
- This happens to Dr. Keller while evading hostile aliens in the woods in one episode of Stargate Atlantis.
- Kat falls victim to this in Power Rangers Zeo.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Willow twists her ankle after her Crash-Into Hello with Tara while fleeing from the Gentlemen. The injury is not emphasised, but is just one more thing to add to the terror of the scene.
- Also regularly faked by Buffy once the vampire of the week has chased her far enough that they are out of sight of any witnesses. Lampshaded in "Earshot" when she announces that the stumble-and-fall gets them every time. After knocking down the demon, Buffy is ambushed by a second demon, implying they were trying their own version of her trick.
- Discussed (and ranted on) at length by Mary Jo in an episode of Designing Women.
- Tony sprains his ankle in an episode of The Time Tunnel right before they become participants in a private war against two Japanese men. Naturally, he tells Doug (who he ends up leaning on for almost the entire rest of the episode) to go on without him; the latter doesn't comply.
- Marion sprains his ankle jumping out a window in The Swamp Fox,though once on his horse, he's fine.
- In the fourth Horatio Hornblower telefilm, Temporary Love Interest Mariette breaks her foot when she and Horatio jump out a window to flee the French Republican forces overtaking the village, forcing her to hop along slowly towards a bridge that needs to be blown up in a few minutes. She's shot and killed before reaching it.
- In one Valkyria Chronicles mission, Alicia (who, as a Scout, is usually one of the fastest characters available) twists her ankle after being thrown off a cliff by an artillery bombardment, drastically reducing her foot speed and cutting her action bar to a fraction of its normal length. For some reason, the magic healing rocks that can fix bullet wounds don't help with this, but some ground-up flowers will. We later learn that Alicia's a Valkyria with an innate Healing Factor, and has "always healed quickly"; while this does explain how she's back up to full speed the next day, by and large it only raises more questions.
- Happens to Naomi from Corpse Party when she falls into Heavenly Host Elementary School.
- Happens at least twice to Fiona Belli in the game Haunting Ground as part of her massive amounts of Cutscene Incompetence.
- Kinda justified because she actually gets up and runs even if hurt. The second time she tries to get away on all fours. She also trips a lot when scared in gameplay, too.
- In the Umineko: When They Cry VN, this was originally the reason Rosa decided to stay put and try to fight the goat-headed butlers. While she and Maria were running through the rose garden, Rosa tripped on the steps and broke her ankle, so she couldn't make it to the beach as she had initially planned.
- Starslip Crisis:
- Zillion: "O'ch! My foot-knee most tender!"
- Parodied in the Angry Beavers Halloween Episode "The Day the World Got Really Screwed Up". In one scene, the beavers and a generic B-movie damsel-in-distress are trying to flee a horde of monsters, only for the woman to injure one ankle, then the other, then both at once somehow as the beavers try to help her along. Dagget lampshades this by asking if they can just cut off her feet.
- It happens to Carly in one episode of The Transformers.
- Beetlejuice takes Lydia to a Neitherworld hospital after she injures her foot in "Generally Hysterical Hospital."