A Podiatrist Can Help Treat and Prevent Future Ankle Injuries
Ankle injuries are extremely common and, although typically thought of as sports injuries, you don’t have to be an athlete or even working out to turn an ankle. Something as simple as walking on an uneven surface, missing a curb, or slipping on ice can cause a nearly debilitating and painful sprain. That’s why it’s crucial to seek help from an ankle doctor, or podiatrist when this occurs. We explore that more – as well as how to prevent and treat ankle injuries – below.
How Common Are Ankle Injuries?
- Men between 15-24 years old have higher rates of ankle sprains
- Women older than age 30 have higher rates than men
- Half of all ankle sprains occur during athletic activity
- Every day in the U.S., 25,000 people sprain their ankle
- More than 1 million people visit emergency rooms each year due to ankle injuries
How to Prevent an Ankle Injury
A single sprain puts you at a far greater risk for future sprains, which is why the prevention of ankle injuries is so important. The key to this is strong ligaments. Ligaments are the tough bands of tissue that connect two bones. They’re in charge of joint stability and positioning, which is why strong joints mean that you’ll be well-supported and ready to take on the day – whether that means simply running errands or hitting the court for a game of hoops.
What is an Ankle Sprain?
An ankle sprain is one of the most common types of ankle injuries there are and, if you’ve ever had one, you know just how painful they can be. Defined as the stretching or tearing of ligaments, ankle sprains are what weaken them. Foot and ankle sprains generally occur when you twist or turn your ankle in a way that’s not comfortable. And, as previously mentioned, they can happen during everyday activities nearly just as easily as when doing exercises. A sprain decreases your ligaments’ ability to keep bones in place, leaving your joints more unstable. Unfortunately, this is what often leads to reinjury.
What are the Symptoms of an Ankle Sprain?
When you’ve injured your ankle, you might wonder whether you’ve sprained it or broken. If you’re really unsure, the only way to find out is to have an ankle doctor x-ray or ultrasound the area. In some cases, an MRI may even be ordered to take a further look.
Symptoms of a sprain include:
What is the Treatment Like for an Ankle Sprain?
If you think you just have a slight sprain, resting and icing at home are likely fine. If it’s worse than that, it’s definitely time to see a podiatrist. As Dr. Nik will tell you, the treatment depends on the level of the sprain.
Grade 1 Sprain
For grade 1 sprains (the least severe), your ligament has been overstretched but not torn. You will be sore and have slight swelling. Dr. Nik can advise you on what kind of brace, bandaging, or splint will be needed to expedite your recovery.
Grade 2 Sprain
These consist of a partial tear in the ligament. The tear causes bleeding under the skin, resulting in bruising. Pain and swelling generally last longer in these cases than with a grade 1 sprain, and you might even have trouble putting your weight on the ankle. In this case, crutches or an air stirrup may be advised.
Grade 3 Sprain
The most serious of the sprains, these will often have been accompanied by a popping sound when the injury occurred and the ankle ligament has been fully torn. Yuck, right? And yet most of us have been there. Get yourself to an ankle doctor such as Dr. Nik right away, as the medical team can prescribe pain medications and advise on a thorough treatment plan. You’ll be given supportive devices and therapeutic exercises you can do at home to gradually regain your strength in that area.
Mind Your Ankle
On top of sprains, there are a plethora of other ankle injuries – from ankle arthritis and impingement to flat feet and Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. In order to shorten the length of your injury and get on a path to prevention, it’s best to contact an ankle doctor such as Dr. Nik right away.