An ankle or foot sprain is a soft tissue injury that occurs when an injury stretches or tears the ligaments that connect bone to bone. Many sprains happen during sports, especially basketball and football. However, you may sprain your ankle just tripping on uneven ground or stepping the wrong way off a curb.
If you have sprained your ankle, you will find it hard to walk on that foot. Your foot will swell and show bruising and you will feel extreme pain and stiffness.
Treating Ankle Sprains
R.I.C.E. is the best way to begin treatment at home: Rest your ankle or foot until you can see a doctor. Ice the area as soon as possible to reduce inflammation and reapply every three or 4 hours. Apply compression by wrapping an elastic bandage around the affected ankle. Elevate the leg on pillows, above your heart if possible.
If the pain and swelling have not subsided in a day or so or if you have difficulty walking, please come see a podiatrist for assessment of your injury. We will carefully examine your ankle and feet and order imaging tests like an X-ray, ultrasound or MRI to confirm our diagnosis.
Immobilization is important to complete healing of a sprain. After a period, you may be able to resume some activities by wearing a special boot or soft cast with crutches. Oral anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen can reduce pain, inflammation and swelling.
Flat foot is a common condition where the foot’s arch is flattened and the entire sole of the foot touches the ground when standing. Your arch helps absorb force during weight-bearing activities like running and walking.
Flat foot tends to run in families. An individual may be born with flat feet, or they can be caused by nerve issues, rheumatoid arthritis, damaged tendons or an injury. Those with flat feet should avoid high-impact sports like running and basketball.
Adult-acquired flatfoot is a painful condition caused by inflammation of the posterior tibial tendon. If untreated, this issue can lead to chronic pain and even serious disability. Those with flat feet are predisposed to this tendonitis.
You may have no symptoms with flat feet, but this condition can cause:
If you must limit your activities because of pain, non-invasive therapies include:
We may discuss surgery with you to relieve pain and restore normal function if the foot is damaged or if the pain is severe.
A fracture is a break in the bone, as opposed to a soft tissue injury such as a sprain or strain. A stress fracture is a tiny bone break caused by overuse, and often developing over time rather than suddenly.
Injuries are the most common causes of foot and ankle fractures, especially during sports like basketball and football. Trip and fall accidents may cause a fracture as can a vehicle or bicycle accident.
A fractured foot or ankle will cause pain, bruising and swelling. It will be difficult to walk on the injured foot or ankle.
If you suspect that you have broken a bone, use R.I.C.E. treatment at home before you can get to medical treatment:
Ibuprofen can help relieve pain and swelling.
For a serious break, or if your pain and swelling persists after a day or two and you still have difficulty walking, get to your foot doctor or emergency room right away.
Your podiatrist will assess your injury with imaging tests such as an X-ray. An ultrasound or MRI can help diagnose stress fractures as well as soft tissue injuries.
Treatment depends on your injury. A serious break may require metal plates and screws to line up the bone properly.
Stress fractures need rest and immobilization with a special boot or a cast and crutches.