Ankle Injuries & Instability

Our team of top podiatrists treat many ankle injuries ranging from trauma, to injuries that result from wear and tear. Whatever level of ankle injury, we can help!

The most common ankle injury in the field of Podiatry is the ankle sprain.

WHAT IS AN ANKLE SPRAIN?
An ankle sprain is a common injury resulting from a twisting of the foot inward under the ankle. This can result in injury to the soft tissue structures called ligaments. Ligaments are what stabilize the ankle, and they are similar to a woven piece of cloth. In an ankle injury, the ligaments can be partially or completely torn depending on the severity of the sprain.

The ankle ligaments that are most commonly injured are the ligaments located on the outside or lateral side of the ankle. The anterior talofibular ligament is one of the three lateral ligaments that is most commonly torn. Initially after the injury, the ankle will become painful, swollen and possibly bruised. Most of the initial swelling is due to ruptured blood vessels from tearing of the soft tissue in the area.

HOW IS AN ANKLE SPRAIN DIAGNOSED?
After a careful history is taken, the physical exam will indicate an ankle sprain. This is confirmed by taking X-Rays to rule out an ankle fracture. If a complete tear is suspected and an ankle fracture has been ruled out, stress X-Rays can be performed. Stressing the ankle ligaments during an X-Ray will help identify the level of laxity of the ankle joint confirming a full ligament tear.

HOW CAN I TREAT THIS PROBLEM?
Initially one should perform R.I.C.E. – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. After an injury, the individual should rest the area injured by immobilizing it with a splint or brace. Immediately ice the area to control the swelling. Gentle compression with a compressive wrap should also be used to control swelling. Elevation of the extremity is also helpful in reducing swelling. Medication in the form of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like advil and alleve can help with mild pain.

WHAT WILL MY DOCTOR DO FOR THIS PROBLEM?
Once an ankle sprain has been diagnosed, we will also begin R.I.C.E. therapy in the acute stages. We will provide an ankle brace and promote early weight bearing. Ligaments usually take about six weeks to heal. Swelling will generally persist for several months after the injury. Physical therapy will be beneficial to regain full strength of the injured ankle. In some cases, the ligaments will not heal resulting in an unstable ankle. Instability of the ankle makes the patient more prone to further injury. Therapy can be performed to strengthen the muscles around the ankle to help stabilize it. If all these measures fail, surgery is recommended to reconstruct the ligaments. There are many techniques to reconstructing the ligaments, some involve using the adjacent tendon as a graft to reconstruct the ligament.

We are proud to now offer laser treatment to reduce pain and inflammation, and aid to a speedy recovery. Laser therapy has FDA clearance and is clinically proven to speed the healing process! This can be a great additional tool to treat and heal ankle sprains. For more information about laser therapy, click here.

CAN I PREVENT IT FROM HAPPENING AGAIN?
Sustaining an ankle sprain can in many instances prone you to future ankle sprains. Therefore, if you have a history of an ankle sprains, you should remember to do like the professional athletes do. They will wrap and tape the ankle so as to prevent further injury. If you plan on a high impact aerobic exercise, like playing basketball, football, tennis, etc., then you should wrap and brace the foot and ankle. Balancing exercises can also be done to strengthen the ankle and area around it.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our ankle specialists, give our office a call at 310.652.3668.
Also feel free to give us a call if you have any further questions.

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