Ankle injuries are some of the most common musculoskeletal injuries. It's just so easy to roll or twist your ankle when you're running, jumping, or even just walking on uneven ground. When you injure your ankle, you are often left to wonder just what's wrong. Did you sprain it? Is it broken? Read on for a look at common ankle injuries and how to tell the difference between them.
A sprained ankle occurs when you stretch and sometimes tear the ligaments in your ankle joint. Usually, this type of injury occurs when you plant your foot and twist too far to the side. It may also happen if you land on your foot and then fall, bending your ankle too far to one side. Usually, it is the ligaments on the outside of the foot that are harmed since the foot bends inward, but if your foot bends towards the outside, you may sprain the ligaments on the inside of your ankle.
Sprained ankles cause pain immediately after they occur. The pain will be concentrated to either the inside or outside of your ankle. Your ankle will begin to swell, but this swelling may come on slowly. With a mild sprain, you will probably be able to walk, but with pain. Severe sprains may make walking impossible.
Most sprains heal on their own if you take time off from physical activity, ice your ankle a few times a day, and keep a wrap or splint on for a week or two. Your ankle doctor may also recommend some massage and stretching. In the most serious of cases, you may need surgery to repair a torn ligament, but this is rare.
Strained Achilles Tendon
Is the pain concentrated in the large tendon located at the back of your ankle, stretching towards your ankle? You probably strained your Achilles tendon. This injury often comes on slowly and is more of an overuse injury. It's common in runners, hikers, and others who do endurance sports. You may strain your Achilles tendon with one swift move while playing basketball or soccer, but this is less common.
When Achilles tendon injuries are caught early, you can usually treat them with rest, ice, and stretching. A cortisone injection may be required to decrease inflammation, and your doctor may also refer you to a physical therapist to learn exercises to strengthen the muscles around your tendon, preventing future injuries. Do not continue to exercise on a sore Achilles tendon; you may tear the tendon, which will require surgical repair.
Sometimes, if you land unevenly on your foot, you may actually break the end of your tibia, which is the large bone that forms your ankle and lower leg. Symptoms of a broken ankle are similar to those of a serious sprain, but the swelling is usually more profound. Your ankle may grow many times in size within just a few minutes, and bruising may occur. You'll typically be in too much pain to walk on the ankle.
Usually, a broken ankle needs to be set by an ankle doctor. Then, you will need to wear a cast or boot for 6–8 weeks until the bone heals. Following the initial healing process, you may need some physical therapy to regain strength in your ankle and prevent strains as you begin walking without the cast again.
If you injure your ankle, do not delay seeking professional treatment. Sprains and breaks are often confused, and an Achilles tendon injury can get worse, rather than better, if you do not have it cared for promptly. Contact a medical facility like Carolina Foot & Ankle Specialists for additional information.Share
28 March 2018
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