We ask a lot of our ankles. Not only do they have to bear the weight of most of the body on a regular basis, they must also remain flexible to navigate all the dips and hills of whatever terrain we cross. The potential for ankle injuries is high, and they are among the most common forms of injury we see. You can be running an Iron Man or simply stepping off the curb and roll your ankle enough to receive a nasty sprain. Ankle injuries don’t discriminate.
There are many different forms of injury the ankle can sustain, and we will review a few of them here. Whatever the cause of your ankle pain, it is always wise to have it examined by a professional. Proper treatment and physical therapy for injured ankles can help ensure the joint remains strong and prevent chronic pain or instability.
An ankle sprain is an extremely common injury that affects the ligaments that surround the joint. These ligaments keep the ankle stable in all its movements, but certain situations can cause the ankle to roll or overextend. This can overstretch the ligaments, causing tears of varying severity. A ligament can even fully rupture in some cases.
You may or may not hear a popping noise when a sprain happens, but there will very likely be swelling, bruising, and pain. More severe sprains will also make it difficult to walk or even stand on the injured ankle (and you most certainly should not try).
There are three bones that meet to form the ankle joint: the talus (aka ankle bone), tibia (shin), and fibula. A break of any of these bones at the joint can be considered an ankle fracture. A variety of different fractures can occur, with different names given to each. All of them require special attention and care, however, to ensure best healing. Yet even when fully healed, an ankle fracture can increase the risk of developing arthritis in the joint later in life.
Tendonitis and Muscle Strains
Muscles move the ankle, and are connected to its bones via tendons. Much like ligaments, these tissues can also become overstretched or damaged. This can happen through overuse—such as running longer or harder than the body is conditioned to—or a sudden trauma. An inflammation of the tendons is referred to as tendinitis, and the peroneal tendons that surround the ankle are not immune to this. Tendons can also fully tear, just like ligaments, or slip out of place.
What to Do for Ankle Injuries
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury to the ankle, the best first step is to take weight off the area as much as possible. Stop any activity that causes pain and ice and elevate the ankle if possible. The next step? Give the doctors at Martin Foot and Ankle a call at (717) 757-3537. We can provide you further instruction on caring for your ankle until we can see you as soon as possible.
Treatment for an injured ankle might involve medication, immobilization, or other methods. In uncommon cases, surgery might need to be considered. Physical therapy to recondition and strengthen the ankle is also a frequent part of the recovery process.Our offices in Hanover, Lancaster, Lititz, and York are always ready to help with ankle injuries and other problems surrounding the feet. Don’t hesitate to contact us, and also feel free to request a copy of our book, “A Step in the Right Direction: A User’s Guide to Foot and Ankle Health.”