An ankle injury can happen to anyone at any time. Most often it occurs as a sporting injury, but it can be the result of walking on an uneven surface or in high heels. The most common ankle injuries include sprains, strains, and fractures. A sprain is an injury where the ligaments are stretched beyond their normal range of motion whereas a strain is damage caused to a muscle or tendon that is stretched too far. A fracture refers to a break or crack in one or more of the bones. For each of these, the pain can be sudden and severe, and you should get medical attention immediately, since sprains can be mistaken for fractures and have similar symptoms.
First aid should be first utilized with RICE (R-rest, I-ice, C-compression, E-elevation) until a physician can be seen. Once your doctor makes a diagnosis, he will treat the injury according to type.
- Fractures are either treated non-surgically or surgically. If the ankle is stable and only one bone is broken, then either a brace or cast is used to immobilize it. If the ankle is unstable, it is treated surgically, usually with a metal plate and screws to hold the bones in place.
- The treatment of a sprain depends on its severity. A mild sprain is treated with the RICE method with weight-bearing within one to three days. A severe sprain where a ligament is completely torn or ruptured requires immobilization and physical therapy.
- Strains are treated in much the same manner as a sprain and include immobilization, physical therapy, and a brace for support during activities.
Prevention of Ankle Injuries
Try these techniques to help prevent an ankle injury from occurring.
- Avoid exercising when tired or in pain.
- Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Wear appropriate shoes for the activity you are performing.
- Exercise daily.
- Warm up and stretch before exercising.
- Run on flat surfaces.
Many athletes tend to play right through their injuries which can cause a lifetime of pain and instability. Prevent and treat these injuries effectively so that this won't happen to you.
Contact us if you are suffering from one of these injuries or if you would like to learn more about preventing them.