When you injure your ankle, it can be a very scary and painful event. Whether you get hurt while playing a sport, on the job, or simply by accident, it's important to understand what kind of ankle injury you have sustained and what treatment your ankle injury needs.
An ankle sprain occurs when you tear or stretch the ligaments in your ankle. A ligament is fibrous connective tissue, which functions connects bones to give your joints their range of motion.
When you have a sprain, you have stretched the ligament too far and it is unable to return to its resting position. This type of injury tends to occur on the outside of your ankle, and often times is a result of lack of stretching or moving your joint suddenly.
If you think you have sprained your ankle, it can range from mild to severe. But there are a number of treatments you can do in order to help heal your injury.
First of all, you should rest your ankle. Regardless of how severe the injury is, in order for it to heal properly it needs to rest for a while. Additionally, ice should be used to help reduce swelling and inflammation in the joint.
Compression is also important in the treatment process. It not only helps to combat swelling in combination with the ice, but it also helps to stabilize the joint. This is important especially if you begin to walk on it again, because it helps to protect you from re-injuring the ankle.
Lastly, elevation is used to help with swelling and is most effective when your foot is raised above your heart. If you find that these treatments aren't working for your ankle, then it's important to seek medical attention because you might have a more serious injury, such as a torn or ruptured tendon.
An ankle strain occurs when you injure a muscle or a tendon in your ankle joint. A tendon connects your muscles to your bones. In your ankle, the largest tendon is the Achilles, which runs down the back of your calf and over your heel. But there are several other tendons that run along your ankle, helping to raise and lower the foot.
A strain can be treated in the exact same manner as a sprain. When you've sustained this injury, you should rest it, elevate it, use compression, and ice. By following those steps, you can help to reduce the swelling, and help your strain to heal.
If you are in severe pain and find that the above treatments are not working, you should seek medical attention. It may mean that you are suffering from a torn muscle or tendon, or you may have tendonitis; which is caused by inflammation of a tendon. Additional treatments will be necessary.
Lastly, injuring your ankle may result in an ankle fracture. A fracture occurs when you break the bones, and in this case, any bones in your ankle joint.
If you believe you have fractured your ankle, you should seek medical attention right away because it may require surgery. Not all ankle fractures require surgery, but stabilization will be the key for treatment either way. You need to immobilize the joint in order to keep the bones in place and not allow for further damage.
If the fracture cannot be immobilized with a brace or splint, then it must be repaired surgically (which could require plates and screws), and then casted in order to keep it from moving. Additionally you won't be able to put weight on your foot with this injury.
No matter what type of ankle injury you have, you need to take the time to take care of yourself. Whether it's a sprain, strain, or fracture, you should treat your ankle appropriately.
Don't push yourself to put weight on it, or continue your life as usual. You could exacerbate your injury, and make it much worse. In all cases, stabilizing the joint, resting, elevating, icing, and compression are helpful tools to help you heal. To learn more about how we can help you in treating your ankle injury, please contact us.