Ankle and foot doctor Ankle fracture treatment Ankle ligament injury

The Top 3 Questions About Ankle Injuries, Answered


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If you’re an athlete, chances are you’ll end up with an ankle injury at some point. This likelihood is increased if you play a sport that includes jumping (like basketball or volleyball) or running on uneven ground. If you suspect an ankle injury, the first thing you should always do is visit an ankle and foot doctor (formally called a podiatrist). But here is some information that can help you through the process of ankle injury treatment:

What Are the Most Common Ankle Injuries?

These are three of the most common ankle injuries, listed roughly in ascending order of severity.

  • Strains: A strain occurs when muscles and tendons are overstretched and develop micro-tears. Tendons are the fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones.
  • Sprains: Ankle ligament injuries are called sprains, but deal with overstretching and tearing similar to strains. The most severe form of this injury is a rupture, in which a ligament completely detaches from the bones it is connecting.
  • Fractures: Fractures are injuries to the bone. Ankle fracture types include complete breaks, as well as stress fractures (tiny cracks in bone).

All of these injuries, of course, can vary in severity.

What Kind of Treatment Should Ankle Injuries Receive?

It’s impossible to determine appropriate treatment without an accurate diagnosis, which is why it’s so important to visit an ankle and foot doctor instead of self-treating. Ankle injury symptoms are similar for several types of injury — strains and sprains, in particular — so it takes medical tests and experience to distinguish among them. Some injuries are so minor you’ll only notice some swelling, whereas a severe injury such as a ligament rupture will require an immediate hospital visit.

Remember that it’s important to include ankle injury rehab after treatment. Jumping right back into activities without re-strengthening weakened muscles can lead to immediate re-injury. Your ankle and foot doctor may set specific exercises and/or refer you to a physical therapist. If not, you can do some exercises yourself, using a resistance band to gently regain muscle strength and joint flexibility.

What Can Prevent Future Ankle Injuries?

If you’ve gone through the pain of an ankle injury, you’ll definitely want to avoid another in the near future. Most injuries are caused by overuse or improper technique. Make sure you’re investing in the appropriate gear for your competition level (good running shoes that provide adequate support, for example).

Patience is also an important factor in training; pushing yourself past your expertise level, whether that means running a distance you haven’t trained for or trying to turn out too much in ballet class, is almost sure to end in injury.

Do you have any additional advice to share on ankle injuries? Join the discussion in the comments section.

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