You may think that most ankle injuries are caused by athletes with a sports injury, and while this is true a lot of the time, ankle injuries can happen to anyone at anytime. Simply walking on uneven surfaces or accidentally turning your ankle as you walk can cause severe pain that requires treatment. In fact, over 25,000 people injure their ankles in the United States every single day, with more than a million people visiting the emergency room each year for ankle pain and injury. It’s no wonder that it is so common, with how complicated the ankle and the foot is as a whole.
Here is a quick guide to several of the various types of ankle injuries, along with some information on the best ways to treat them. Since everyone’s ankles and injuries will be slightly different, it’s best to speak with your doctor about the best treatments and options available to you.
A sprained ankle is the term given when ligaments become damaged from being stretched too far out of their normal range. These ligament sprains can occur from one single tear or rupture to the entire ligament or many miniscule tears to the fibers.
Depending on the severity of the sprain, it may be able to heal quickly or it may cause pain and turmoil for much longer. To treat a simple sprain, wear a protective brace, give the ankle plenty of rest by sitting or using crutches, and apply an ice pack for the first couple days until the swelling is reduced.
A fracture is essentially a break in one of the bones of the ankle. These tend to be extremely painful and can be quite severe. You may need to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect a fracture in your foot.
While you wait for professional medical attention, you can treat a fracture by controlling the bleeding if there is any, raising the ankle and avoiding putting any weight or pressure on it. You may also want to apply ice to the injured area until further medical assistance is available. Do not try to push protruding bones back into place.
Not to be confused with a sprain, a strain is caused when the muscles or tendons in the ankle are stretched or pulled too far and cause damage. There are two tendons that are often strained in the ankles, the peroneal tendons, which help to protect and stabilize the ankle.
If you need treatment for a strain in your ankle, then the first step is to avoid walking on it. Give the ankle plenty of rest and immobilization, perhaps even with a cast or splint. Take over the counter pain relievers and talk to your doctor about physical therapy options. Depending on the severity of the strain, surgery can sometimes be necessary.
Ankle injuries can cause a lot of undue pain and suffering, and some may never fully heal correctly. It is important to explore all options before making any kind of medical decision regarding your bone health.