6 Types Of Foot And Ankle Injuries
Like any good foundation, our feet and ankles are responsible for supporting our overall body weight while providing a reliable, stable, and balanced platform. Additionally, they are integral parts of our body that allow us to move and be flexible, putting more stress on them. So, allowing movement and flexibility adds a considerable degree of difficulty.
So, it’s not surprising that you often get your feet and ankles injured, especially if you consider the complexity of their roles. And, if you have an injury in one or both areas, almost everything that you do in your daily life can be hampered.
Thankfully, there is a highly trained and experienced team of experts at Eastern Idaho Foot Clinic and other similar clinics that can help treat all types of foot and ankle injuries every day.
This article will tackle common injuries to the feet and ankles. Keep reading for more information.
- Ankle Sprain
An ankle sprain is a painful injury involving the ligaments in the ankle joint. These ligaments are elastic, but they can stretch or tear to varying degrees. Depending on the severity and length of the injury, mild to moderate sprains may cause only mild pain. It can result from a sudden fall, a traumatic event, a bad landing, or improper footwear. On the other hand, severe sprains may result in significant pain and swelling and require surgical treatment.
Ankle sprains are often accompanied by swelling, tenderness, bruising, and stiffness. Luckily, there are ways to treat an ankle sprain at home. The first option is icing the ankle. Ice is an excellent treatment for pain and swelling. Another way to treat it is engaging in strengthening exercises that help the ankle regain range of motion. While you may be eager to resume activities as soon as the pain goes away, it's crucial to wait until the ankle has fully recovered.
- Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon and is also one of the most common types of ankle injury. It usually happens if the tendon is constantly exposed to excessive stress. Stress and inflammation cause tears in the Achilles tendon and cause a lot of pain. It is a common injury among professional athletes who play quick-action sports such as basketball, volleyball, football, tennis, etc.
Physical therapy can help reduce pain and swelling in the Achilles tendon. Physiotherapists will use specific exercises to strengthen the supporting muscles of the tendon. If you're able to walk or run, you should gradually increase your activity level. It's crucial to warm up slowly before starting any strenuous activity. This way, you will not force your muscles to do intense undertakings when it's not yet fully healed. You should also make sure that you wear supportive shoes that don't cause additional pain.
- Ankle Fractures
Ankle fractures occur as a result of a traumatic injury or impact. Bear in mind that an ankle fracture is different from an ankle sprain. But because these two injuries often occur simultaneously, patients often get confused and wrongly self-diagnose themselves.
Even if the ankle fracture affects single or multiple bones, it usually comes with severe pain, bruising, and swelling, among other symptoms. It is an injury that requires immediate medical treatment from a licensed orthopedic ankle specialist to prevent the risk of infection, especially if there’s a protruding bone from the skin.
- Broken Toe
A broken toe is another common foot injury that is often caused by accidentally dropping a heavy object on your foot or stubbing your toe.
A broken toe can cause significant pain, but most cases of broken toes are treatable with non-surgical treatments. The initial stages may include ice and rest to prevent swelling. Pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication can also help in reducing discomfort.
Depending on the severity of the injury, most broken toes can heal well after four to six weeks. Although not quite common, a broken toe may also lead to an infection that requires immediate medical attention from a healthcare professional.
- Heel Spurs
A heel spur is a common condition associated with repetitive stress on the foot. It can result from improper fitting shoes, excessive weight, or an imbalance in movement. The painful process associated with heel spurs often develops slowly and when left untreated, may progress and become infected with other conditions.
Treatment for heel spurs can vary depending on the underlying cause. Exercise can improve overall body conditioning and prevent injuries, making it easier to manage your heel spurs. Physical therapy is another option for treating heel spurs and can relieve both chronic and acute pain. If physical activity isn't a good option, ice or rest the area. Regardless of the treatment, stretching exercises can help prevent the occurrence of heel spurs.
- Plantar Fasciitis
Another foot and ankle injury experienced by many adults is plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a long, thin ligament that stretches on the bottom of the foot. It connects the heel to the front of the foot and plays a vital role when you walk. Now, plantar fasciitis occurs when that ligament becomes inflamed or irritated, causing sharp pain in the foot.
Most patients suffering from this injury often feel pain upon taking a few steps after waking up or sitting for a prolonged period. Depending on the severity of the condition, the pain might quickly subside but will continue to bother you every time the ligament rests.
Some cases of plantar fasciitis can be treated with rest, ice, and stretching exercises. Others will have to take anti-inflammatory and pain medication to help find relief. But if your injury continues to persist, your doctor may have to refer you to an orthopedic surgeon for operative treatment.
If you feel any pain or popping sensation on your foot or ankle, bruising, swelling, inflammation, or other symptoms, you should avoid putting more stress on the injured part. Try elevating the injured area and use an ice pack to help reduce pain and swelling. But if the injury looks severe, seek immediate medical care as soon as possible. Only a licensed physician can diagnose the type of foot or ankle injury you may be suffering from and choose the proper treatment.