Healthcare providers treat millions of Americans every year with musculoskeletal injuries. The ankle is the most commonly sprained joint in the body.
Sprains: Soft tissue injury caused by trauma, i.e., a fall, twist, or blow to the body, most often occurring when an injury overstretches or even ruptures the supporting ligaments. This may cause the joint to become unstable.
Ligaments: Tissue that stabilizes and supports the body’s joints. Connects bone to bone.
Strains: Twist or pull and/or tear of a muscle or tendon usually with overuse and repetitive motions, i.e., with intense training.
Tendon: Cords of tissue. Connects muscle to bone.
Fracture: Actually a break in the bone, can be a splinter or complete break often caused by accidents, sports injuries, or bone weakness.
With sprains, while intensity varies, there may be pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty walking. May sfeel a pop or tear in the joint.
With strains, symptoms include pain, muscle spasm, weakness, swelling, difficulty walking and/or cramping.
Fractures may be unrecognizable due to similarities in symptoms of both sprains and strains. Pain and the ability to walk are NOT good indicators to determine if an ankle is broken, and bone breaks should always be examined by a healthcare provider to ensure proper healing.
Home Care-Remember “RICE”
Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, then call your podiatrist.
How to Reduce Your Risks of Ankle Injuries?
Regular exercise help condition and build muscle strength
Stretching and warming up before exercising
Always wear properly-fitted shoes, and athletic shoes should be replaced every 300-400 miles.
Avoid running or walking on uneven surfaces
Well-balanced diet to nourish your muscles and bones
When to Visit a Podiatrist?
Podiatrists specialize in care and treatment of the lower extremities, and will determine the extent of the injury and develop a plan of care. Not only do fractures require medical attention, but severe sprains or strains may also require immobilization or even surgery to ensure proper healing. It may also be necessary to be prescribed medication to reduce the inflammation which will assist with pain.
It is imperative that patients with diabetes, vascular disease, alcoholism, and immune deficiencies receive prompt treatment from a foot and ankle surgeon. Patients with these conditions are vulnerable to nerve damage, and often don’t feel pain associated with ankle injuries. Pediatric patients, especially with sports injuries, also need close monitoring so bones fuse together correctly and the foot’s growth plate is not affected.
Dr. Manooj Prasad is a podiatrist and highly-skilled foot and ankle surgeon who uses the latest therapies and surgical approaches for his patient’s needs. For all your foot and ankle concerns, please call: (732) 557-9900.
This information has been prepared by the Consumer Education Committee of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, a professional society of over 6,000 foot and ankle surgeons. Members of the College are Doctors of Podiatric Medicine who have received additional training through surgical residency programs.