Experts like Orthopedic Surgeon in Doctors Hospital Lahore commonly address ankle injuries, both in athletes and non-athletes. Though they are commonly thought of as sports injuries, anyone can get an ankle injury even by walking on an uneven surface. Read on to know more about common ankle injuries and their treatment options:
The bones making the ankle joints are held in place by connective tissue called ligaments, and when these ligaments are stretched beyond their limit, a sprain occurs. Twisting of the foot, mis-step, impact on the foot or high heel injuries often result in sprains. Ankle sprains involving the lateral ligament are the commonest, and occur when the foot is rolled inwards. Other common sprains involve the syndesmotic ligament, which runs from the knee to the ankle.
Whenever sprains occur, fractures must be ruled out through investigations like plain radiographs. Immediately after the injury, measures like resting and elevating the limb, icing the foot, and compression bandages can contain the inflammation and begin the healing process. If moderate and severe sprains are left untreated, they can weaken the ankle joint over time, and lead to other complications.
Ankle fractures usually involve traumatic or high-impact injury, with significant displacement. This fracture may occur in any of the three bones making the ankle joint—leg’s tibia and fibula—with the talus of the foot. These three bones are held together by strong elastic bands of tissue called ligaments, and can only be damaged in case of severe impact injury or trauma.
In case of fracture of one or multiple bones, there is significant swelling, deformity, blistering and bruising. This serious injury, more often than not, requires surgical intervention and immediate care from a specialist. Ankle fractures are different from ankle sprains and patients often confuse the two.
Another common ailment of the ankle in adults is plantar fasciitis. Every year millions of patients around the world are treated by specialist healthcare professionals for this issue. This occurs when there is inflammation in the band of tissues in the arch of the foot, leading to heel pain and discomfort; consequently, there is pain on walking, especially after prolonged inactivity such as waking up in the morning. Gradually, as this band of tissues stretches, the pain goes away.
Many cases of plantar fasciitis are treated conservatively with icing, resting and stretching. In few cases, medication such as high dose anti-inflammatory pills, and wearing a heel pad are recommended.
Stress fractures of the foot
Stress fractures occur with excessive and repetitive impact force on the bones of the foot. In contrast to acute fractures, stress fractures do not occur suddenly. Rather, they build up over time especially with repetitive activity, as the bones and the supporting tissue don’t have time to heal. As a result, there are tiny cracks in the bones, particularly in the second and third metatarsal bones, and big toe. Stress fractures are seen in athletes and in people performing high-impact physical exercises.
What are the symptoms of an ankle injury?
The symptoms of different ankle injuries are similar. The healthcare provider makes the diagnosis based on the investigations during a clinical examination. These injuries cannot be differentiated without the help of a specialist. In most cases of an ankle injury, there is:
- Sudden pain, particularly after injury and thereafter during periods of activity
- Inability to use the joint
- Inability to bear weight on the joint
- Deformed joint
How are ankle injuries diagnosed?
When you visit a healthcare provider like Orthopedic Surgeon in Boulevard Hospital, they will first take a detailed history about the nature and time of injury and the activities leading to injury, such as walking, playing a sport, exercising, etc. Thereafter, the specialist would examine the joint with movements in each plane. To determine whether fractures or micro-fractures have occurred, they would order investigations like plain radiographs, or MRIs to show more detail.