Ankle injuries are a common cause for patients to come see us. They usually occur when someone twists their ankle inward underneath their leg. This can occur after a misstep while playing sports, stepping off of a curb, missing a stair or walking on uneven surface. Twisting or rolling your ankle can lead to sprains and fractures in the foot and ankle. An ankle sprain occurs when one or more of your ligaments get stretched or torn. The most common ligaments that get injured are your lateral collateral ligaments. These are the three ligaments that protect and connect the outside of your foot to your ankle. Less likely to get sprained is the deltoid ligaments (the inside of your ankle) or your syndesmosis (ligament that connects the two bones of your leg just above your ankle). When these ligaments are injured, you will usually develop swelling, bruising and pain. If you sprain your ankle and there are no obvious deformities to your leg, ankle or foot, you can begin home therapy with PRICE treatment (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). If you are still unable to bear weight on the injured ankle or foot the following day, you should seek medical attention to ensure that you have no fractures in your foot or ankle. Fractures can develop at the ankle and foot if you have weaker bones or if there was a high energy injury. We will perform a thorough lower extremity physical exam and take X-rays to evaluate if there are any broken bones. If there is a fracture then surgery may be needed to repair the broken bone and prevent further complications down the road. If there are no fractures but you still have a sprained ankle, you may be fitted for a brace or walking boot to help protect and immobilize the ankle and let the tendons and ligaments of your ankle and foot rest. This will usually help you heal faster. If your are still experiencing pain after a period of time in a brace or boot, than an MRI may be needed to assess the soft tissues of the ankle and foot to ensure that no surgical repair is needed. If the ligaments or tendons of your ankle/foot are torn, you may need surgical repair in an attempt to prevent any further problems with your foot and ankle as you age. If left untreated, you could develop continued pain and arthritis in the ankle and foot and be more prone to further sprains and injuries later in life. Physical therapy is a valuable option during your recovery from you ankle injury whether you need surgery or not as it will help improve your range of motion, strength and proprioception. Proprioception is what helps you determine where a specific part of your body is in relation to the rest of your body without seeing or looking at that part. When people say that they feel their ankles are going to, “give out”, it is usually because they have poor proprioception, not weak ankles. By improving your proprioception, your chance for re-injury is much less likely.
From the initial injury until the time you are back on your feet, the providers and staff at Advanced Foot and Ankle Center are here to help guide you to a smooth and quick recovery. Please call with any questions my may have.
Eric Silvers, DPM
Dustin Lloyd, DPM
Christopher Witt, DPM