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Injuries: Sprains, Strains, Fractures of the foot and ankle

Foot, Ankle Sprain or Fracture

sprained-ankleThe bodies support is provided by the feet and ankles work together. Injuries to a foot or ankle are referred to as a soft tissue injury. A fracture is when a bone actually breaks. Sprains on the other hand involve a tearing of the ligaments that connect to the bones. Injury happens when the ligaments tear or stretch where the bone connects to another bone.


What causes these type of injuries 

The most common causes of foot, ankle sprains and fractures are from sports injuries. Athletes playing Football typically experience sprains and fractures. Basketball players and runners are prone to ankle sprains and may develop stress fractures of the ankle or foot. Stress fractures are often seen in Gymnasts and dancers.

Anyone can tripping or stumbling on uneven ground and is another common cause of foot and ankle sprains along with fractures.

Typical Symptoms from Injuries 

The most common symptoms of a sprained or fractured foot or ankle are.

pain, swelling which can turn black and blue. Difficulties in walking are not uncommon.

Caring for your injury

If you experience and injury remember the acronym RICE which can help you remember what to do:

Rest—Stay off the affected leg until you can elevate it. A boot can often take the pressure of the injured area.

Ice—Apply ice to the affected area 15–20 minutes every three or four hours for the first 48 hours after injury. Ice can reduce and decrease the inflammation.

Compression— Use an elastic bandage (such as an Ace® wrap) around the injjured foot or ankle. Wrapping should be snug, but not cut off the circulation to the area.

Elevation—Keeping your ankle or foot elevated can decrease the associated swelling.

When to Visit a Podiatrist 

Podiatrists specialize in the care and treatment of the lower extremities. A Podiatrist is the best resource If you’ve injured your foot or ankle. The extent of the injury can be and a treatment plan can be developed.

Increased pain, or difficulty walking after an injury are definite signs that it’s time to consult with a Board Certified Podiatrist.

Developing an individualized treatment plan

sprainA podiatrist will start with a thorough examination as well as collect a medical history. The extent of your injury will be determined by X-rays, ultrasound or an MRI. If you have a fracture that’s clearly visible on X-ray your Podiatrist my have other suggestions. Treatment plans will be dependent upon your specific injury.

If you the bone is broken, your podiatrist may set the fracture, where there is a lining up the ends of the bones proper healing can take place. If the fracture is “unstable,” meaning that the ends of the bone do not stay in place after a reduction, surgery may be needed. Metal plates, and used to fix broken bones.

Stress fractures are treated with rest and immobilization. You will be instructed to stay off the affected area until there is complete healing of the bone. Immobilization is recommended using crutches and/or a special “boot” to aid in healing.

Immobilization can also be utilized with sprains. Resuming activities will be dependant on the extent of your sprain. Resuming activity can often be done quickly. Sometimes it is necessary to wear a soft cast or “boot” and utilize crutches for a few weeks.

Torn ligaments experienced by athletes often require surgery.

Ibuprofen, can be used to decrease symptoms of pain, swelling, and inflammation.

 Preventing injuries

A proper warm up period prior to exercise can help reduce the risk of injury. It’s very important to wear the proper fitting shoes with the correct support. Athletes should, talk to your podiatrist to determine which shoes are best for your sport. You read APMA’s footwear selection tips for more information. Athletic shoes should be examined and if need be replaced yearly; running shoes should be replaced every 300–400 miles. Routine visits to a Podiatrist are recommend for those heavily involved in sports.


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Dr. Gregory M. Jansyn