Ankle sprains are among the most common sports medicine injuries, as it’s so easy for your anklebone to get injured. This can mean a trip to the doctor for you!
Ankle injuries are a bit different depending on what part of it is injured. Understanding this will help you deal with your injury and how get back into the swing of things faster.
Let’s take a look at the different types of ankle injuries and how to take care of them. Check it out!
An ankle sprain is an injury where the ligaments become stretched beyond where they should normally be. They often occur when the foot is suddenly turned beyond its normal range of movement such as when stepping off a curb or stepping into a crevice.
Additionally, you may put bandage or brace to reduce swelling and provide extra support. If the sprain is severe enough, surgery may be necessary to repair the torn ligament. Treatment for these types of injuries follows the same RICE protocol together with:
- Physical therapy
- Additional bracing
Furthermore, preventative measures like proper footwear and exercises can help prevent ankle sports injuries from occurring. With adequate rest and treatment, it can heal within a few weeks or months.
If ankle pain and instability persist, it would be best to seek medical attention.
An ankle strain injury is another common type of ankle injury. It is typically caused by a sudden turn or tear in the ligament. These strains can be classified into two categories such as:
Acute Ankle Strain
An acute ankle strain is an injury caused when the ligaments around the ankle are reclined and torn due to a sudden twisting motion. The ligaments damaged provide stability to the ankle and are susceptible to injury.
Instances such as making a sudden pivot or landing incorrectly after a jump may be the cause of this injury. Additionally, this type of strain can produce mild to severe immediate acute pain.
Recovery time will depend on the gravity of the injury and can require physical therapy to restore stability, strength, and mobility to the ankle joint.
Chronic Ankle Strain
A chronic ankle strain is a type of injury caused by repetitive and overuse movements. This may lead to damage to the ligaments, tendons, and muscles around the ankle joint.
This type of ankle injury can be very painful, as it can involve high levels of tension in the surrounding area. Symptoms include:
- Pain when applied by pressure
- A feeling of tightness around the joint
In more serious cases, there may even be swelling and bruising. Treatment typically involves rest, elevation, and compression of the affected area, as well as a specific physical therapy regimen to help reduce pain and restore flexibility.
Tibial fractures are one of the most serious, which involve a bone break in the shin bone. This is usually caused by trauma such as a twisted ankle or a direct blow. Depending on the extremity of the fracture, two types of fractures are often separated:
Open Tibial Fracture
An open or compound tibial fracture occurs when the bone is broken in a way that the fragments from the break penetrate the skin. This is commonly caused by a high-impact trauma to the shin bone and can be a very painful and debilitating injury.
Anatomically, this fracture destabilizes the ankle joint and can seriously affect the ability to walk. The location of the fracture often determines the seriousness and treatment plan.
Treatment can involve casting and immobilization, surgery, and physical therapy after the fracture has healed. However, the healing process can take weeks to months to ensure proper healing and a good outcome.
Closed Tibial Fracture
A closed tibial fracture is a break or cracks in the shinbone, which is also known as the tibia. This is common among athletes, as it can occur when a high-force impact is put on the leg. It is also common in older adults due to the weakening of bones with age.
When the break is small, it can be referred to as a “stress fracture” and most often is the result of overuse. Larger fractures may require abscission to mend the broken bones and may require the use of a cast or brace for a few weeks.
To diagnose a tibial fracture, a physician will likely order an X-ray or CT scan. Treatment will vary depending on the location, size, and type of fracture. Treatment for this injury can range from rest and ice to surgery.
Heel Bone Inflammation
Heel bone inflammation, or plantar fasciitis, is a common type of ankle injury. It is an overuse condition that involves the thick band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes, called the plantar fascia.
Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the heel and bottom of the foot. The cause of plantar fasciitis is usually from overuse of the foot, due to activities such as running, jumping, and walking.
Podiatrists provide treatment for these injuries which can include rest, physical therapy, medications, and even surgery depending on the severity. They can also prescribe orthopedic devices such as casts, splints, and orthotics.
These medical professionals play an important role in the timely diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care to help people achieve a full and speedy recovery. Click here to know more about what do podiatrists do in cases like this.
Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage between the joints is worn down, creating painful and stiff movement. As a result, it can limit mobility and cause swelling, deformity, and tenderness.
On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthropathy that primarily affects the joints in the ankles. This may be accompanied by persistent abscesses and limitations in mobility.
Surgery may be necessary in more critical cases, but typically a therapy program can help rehabilitate the pain. It is advised to take long-term rest and immobilization together with regular physiotherapy exercises may also be recommended.
A Guide to the Different Types of Ankle Injuries
Ankle injuries range from mild sprains and strains to tears and fractures. Chronic ankle instability and osteoarthritis are other types of injuries that can be managed with proper treatment.
Thankfully, there is hope for all types of ankle injuries. Seeking prompt medical attention is the best way to ensure a quick recovery. Get help today and start your journey to a pain-free ankle.
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