Has this happened to you? You are walking or running along and suddenly you step on something you did not see, and you roll your ankle. It has happened to me! Ankle sprains are a common injury and at times can lead to long-term pain or problems. Initially you may see different degrees of bruising or swelling. There are different ligaments around your ankle that can be injured at the time. You may have also heard of a high ankle sprain, this is an injury to the ligaments between your leg bones, the tibia and fibula. It can be difficult to walk after this type of injury. Many times, patients think that it is “just a sprain” but turns out to be more involved. For minor injuries, it can help to “RICE” (rest, ice, compression, elevation) other times more involved treatment is needed. If the injury is more severe, immobilization may be necessary to allow the area to heal. If not properly treated, this can lead to ankle instability or arthritis of your ankle. If you have had an ankle injury, call us for an evaluation. Imaging may be needed to rule out fracture. Also, if you describe yourself as prone to ankle sprains, let us take a look to see if there is structural or biomechanical reason for your recurrent injury.
Ankle instability can occur after injury (such as a severe ankle sprain or multiple ankle sprains). When the ligaments supporting your ankle joint become injured due to repeated sprains, they lose their strength. This can lead to a repetitive cycle of easily rolling your ankle in situations where you previously may have been able to catch yourself. It can also be due to hypermobility (more flexible than the average person). Frequently rolling your ankles can lead to chronic ankle pain, tendon tears or arthritis of your ankle if not addressed. There may be conservative or surgical options for you. Conservative options can include various taping or bracing. At the time of injury, it can be helpful to rest, ice, elevate and apply compression (ace wrap or compression stocking). If the injury is more severe, immobilization may be necessary to allow the area to heal. Exercises to retrain your ankle and improve strength may be needed as well.
Common injuries that can occur after you step wrong, twist your foot or after an injury like a car accident or a fall. Foot sprains or fractures (broken bones) frequently occur. There is a common misconception that if you can walk on it, it must not be broken. Unfortunately, that isn’t true. You may see bruising and swelling after both types of injuries but at times it can be subtle. Delaying evaluation and treatment can worsen or prolong your recovery. Get it checked out by the experts!
You get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and misjudge where the bed is and jam your toe into the bedpost. You end up with a swollen and bruised toe that makes it hard to tolerate shoe gear. How many times have you heard that if you break a toe there isn’t anything you can do about it? Too often people will walk on a broken bone in their toe or ball of their foot for months before seeking evaluation or treatment because they feel there is nothing that can be done. It is good to get an x-ray to assess the severity of the injury. There are options of getting immobilized to help heal the broken bone in a timely fashion and at times surgery can be needed if the broken bone is displaced.
There are many tendons that can be torn or ruptured in the foot and ankle. That can be torn or ruptured. This can occur after you twist your ankle, miss a step or due to more repetitive injuries. If you have an injury and feel a “pop” this could be damage to the ligaments, tendons or the bone. This can lead to instability, weakness and chronic pain. A rupture to a tendon needs to be surgically repaired to regain the strength and function of the tendon. It limits your activity and recovery can be prolonged without seeking evaluation and treatment. We can help get you the early treatment that is needed to get you back on your feet.
Puncture wounds often look like a benign injury but the nature of the injury typically causes a small wound that can close over quickly. The problem is that the object you stepped on has bacteria on it. When you step on the object it puts the bacteria deeper in your foot and can be hard to clean out on your own. The object could go through tendons or into your bone causing a significant risk for infection. Puncture wounds need to be thoroughly flushed out and at times packed open to allow for the bacteria to not harbor in your foot. Depending on the type of object that was stepped on, medications may be needed. If the area closes over too quickly without adequately irrigating, it may be an area that flares up with infection at a later date.