If you have a foot injury, you might be interested in getting foot injury treatment. However, it can sometimes be hard to tell where you should go for that. Choosing the right doctor or medical facility largely depends on the kind of injury. For example, if you have severe pain, you may need to go…
Ankle Injury: Symptoms and Treatment
Ankle injuries are one of the most common injuries a podiatrist has to treat, because it is something that happens frequently. Most people think ankle injuries are something only athletes have to deal with, but the injury is not limited to athletes. According to research, over 25,000 people in the United States sprain their ankles every day, and more than one million people in the country go to emergency rooms because of ankle injuries every year.
What is an ankle injury?
An ankle injury occurs when there is damage to a bone, ligament or tendon in the ankle, which causes pain when one tries to walk. The injury can occur when playing sports or simply walking on an uneven surface. Even though ankle injuries can happen to anyone at any age, men between the ages of 15 and 24 have higher rates of an ankle sprain.
What are the different types of ankle injuries?
According to a podiatrist, the type of ankle injury a patient has depends on the bone or tissue that was damaged. The ankle consists of three bones: the talus of the foot, the fibula of the lower leg and the tibia. The bones are held together by ligaments, which are strong elastic bands of connective tissue that keep the bones in place while a person moves.
When it comes to ankle injuries, the three most common types of injuries are:
- Fractures: A fracture is a break in one or more of the three bones that make up the ankle.
- Sprains: A sprain can be described as damage to the ligaments that occurs when they are stretched beyond their normal range of motion. They range from tiny tears in the fibers that compromise the ligament to a complete tear.
- Strains: A podiatrist will simply refer to a strain as damage to muscles and tendons as a result of being stretched or pulled too far.
What are the symptoms of an ankle injury?
The symptoms of ankle sprains and fractures are very similar, which is why fractures are sometimes mistaken for sprains. Having an injured ankle evaluated by a podiatrist will prevent any confusion. The symptoms that indicate a patient has a fracture or an ankle sprain include:
- Inability to put full weight on an injured ankle
When a patient has an ankle sprain, the ankle may also be stiff. If it is a fracture, the ankle and surrounding area will be tender to touch. The ankle will also look deformed or out of place due to the swelling. If it is a light sprain, there will not be a lot of swelling and the pain will be bearable. If it is a severe sprain, the pain will be intense, and the swelling will be very noticeable.
If the patient suffers an acute tear of the peroneal tendon, there will be both swelling and pain. The area around the ankle will also feel warm to the touch if the patient has tendinitis. An acute tear will also lead to weakness or instability of the foot and ankle.
How is an ankle injury treated?
The treatment a podiatrist will use for an ankle sprain depends on the severity of the sprain. Grades 1 and 2 sprains, which are considered mild and moderate respectively, will be treated with the RICE approach, which involves:
- Rest: Resting and keeping weight off the ankle.
- Ice: Using ice to reduce the swelling.
- Compression: Wrapping the ankle up with a bandage or compression wrap.
- Elevate: Keeping the ankle elevated to reduce the swelling and pain.
If the sprain is a grade 3 sprain, it means it is severe and may require surgery. Fractures are treated either surgically or non-surgically. A podiatrist may treat a fracture without surgery by immobilizing the ankle. However, this is usually done when only one bone is broken and if the bones are not out of place. This is usually done with a brace or a cast. If the ankle is unstable, the podiatrist will have to fix the fracture surgically, which means using a metal plate and screws to keep the bones in place.
Ankle injuries can be very painful and make it difficult to walk around. If you have an injured ankle, do not risk it getting worse; schedule an appointment with a podiatrist to get the problem fixed.
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