Ankle injuries are not always sports injuries. Ankle injuries can happen to anyone. However, an ankle sprain is more common among young men, partly because they tend to engage in athletic activities. In the United States alone, about 25,000 people experience ankle sprain every single day. Each year, about a million people receive emergency treatment for injuries.
Types of Ankle Injuries
Ankle injuries are referred to as the damage of ligament, bone, or tendon. The ankle joint holds the talus of your feet, the tibia, and fibula. The bones are kept in place by the connective tissue, the strong elastic bands.
A break in of at least one of these bones is known as a fracture. Damage to ligaments is known as a sprain. A sprain occurs when the ligaments are abnormally stretched. The severity of a ligament sprain varies. A sprain can be the result of some microscopic tears or a complete tear.
In the lower back and legs, tendon and muscle strains are more common. There are two tendons in the ankle that can get strained. These peroneal tendons protect and stabilize the ankle. Trauma or overuse can cause them to become inflamed. A sudden force or trauma can result in acute tendon tears. When the tendon is inflamed, the condition is referred to as tendinitis.
Causes of Ankle Injuries
A sudden twist of the ankle joint can lead to an ankle injury. Ankle injuries mostly occur while walking on rough surfaces or during sports activities. If the ankle falls into an unnatural position, there is a risk of an ankle injury. Walking in loose-fitting sandals or clogs can also lead to an ankle injury.
Other causes of ankle injuries include:
- Falling awkwardly after a jump
- Falling or tripping
- A sudden impact
- Rolling the ankle
- Rotating or twisting the ankle
Symptoms of Ankle Injuries
The symptoms of a fracture or a sprain are similar. That is why fractures are often mistaken for sprains. If you notice the symptoms of an ankle injury, get in touch with your doctor. The common symptoms are pain, bruising, swelling, and inability to walk.
A sprain may make your ankle stiff. And if there is a fracture, the spot may become extremely sensitive to touch. It may also look out of place or deformed. In a relatively mild case, the pain and swelling may be slight. But a severe sprain can result in intense pain and much swelling.
Tendinitis can result in both swelling and pain. If you touch the ankle area, it may feel warm. And if there is an acute tear, you may feel instability and weakness in your foot and ankle.
Tendinosis takes time to develop. Here are the symptoms:
- Sporadic pain
- Instability or weakness
- The slight rise of the foot’s arch
Ankle weakness and instability are the symptoms of subluxation. Around the ankle bone, you may experience a snapping feeling and sporadic pain. However, there are reliable treatments for ankle injuries available. You just have to find a good surgeon in Atlanta.
First Aid for Ankle Injuries
Here are some things to do when you have an ankle injury:
- Rest. To prevent further damage and promote healing, make sure you rest the injured ankle.
- Ice. Using ice can reduce or slow the swelling. It also provides a numbing sensation. To get the best results, use ice within 48 hours of your injury. To prevent frostbite, do not leave ice on for more than 20 minutes at a time. Before you reapply ice, wait for about 30 minutes.
- Compression. To keep the injured ankle supported and immobile, you can wrap it with a compression wrap or elastic bandage. Make sure the wrapping is not too tight.
- Elevate. Elevate the injured ankle to reduce pain and swelling.
Until your injured ankle has been evaluated by your physician, do not put weight on it. If sprains and fractures are left untreated, you may have to deal with chronic problems. These problems include arthritis, ankle weakness, and repeated injury.
First of all, your physician will ask you how the ankle injury occurred. Then, the ankle will be examined, and the bruising and swelling will be noted. In some cases, the examination can be painful. To determine if any bone is broken, the doctor will conduct an ankle X-ray. Imaging scans may be necessary to determine a stress fracture.
To learn more about the injury, the doctor may use an MRI. In cases when there is a fracture, a stress test may be needed. This test is a special type of X-ray. To control pain, acetaminophen, or any other over-the-counter medication can be used.
Surgical Treatment: Achilles Tendon Repair
There are several methods of performing Achilles tendon surgery. An orthopedic surgeon does the surgery. Before you undergo the surgery, learn details about the procedure. Your healthcare provider will let you know the details. The surgery for ankle injuries takes just a couple of hours.
Spinal anesthesia may be used to numb your lower waist. Your surgeon may also give you sedation. You may sleep while the surgery is being performed. Your vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate will be examined by a healthcare provider.
After the surgery, the ankle is kept in a splint so that it does not move. This outpatient procedure does not require you to stay in the hospital in Atlanta overnight. You will be on pain medication after your surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions about Surgical Treatments for Ankle Injuries
Surgery is needed if there is a complete tear or rupture. The goal is to sew the tendon. The tendon is not likely to heal on its own.
This open procedure requires making a small incision on the back of your heel. To make your tendon pristine, the surgeon identifies and debrides the ruptured or torn part. She then sews the tendon back together.
The surgical procedures for ankle injuries are relatively simple. This ambulatory surgery in Atlanta does not require the patient to stay in the hospital overnight.
Just like any surgery, Achilles tendon repair involves the possible risks of postoperative infection, nerve damage, and DVT. Specific complications include postoperative stiffness, re-tear, and deficits in range of motion.
It depends on factors such as family history, medical history, and smoking status. For 6 weeks after your surgery, you will have to take 81mg Aspirin daily to prevent blood clots.
Driving is not allowed as long as you are on pain medication. If the surgery has been performed on your right lower extremity, you will have to avoid driving for about 6 weeks.
Until your physician gives clearance, you should not resume jogging. Depending on strength, it may take up to 9 months after surgery to resume running.