Hitting the stairs the wrong way, twisting your ankle during a quick jog, or falling off your bike might not seem like major emergencies, but you should never ignore ankle injuries. According to Columbia, TN podiatrist Dr. Danielle Malin, even seemingly minor ankle injuries can result in decreased function and can morph into a serious problem in the future.
What Causes Ankle Injuries?
Of the 28,000 ankle injuries treated in the United States each year, the vast majority are broken bones, sprains, and ligament strains. Not surprisingly, about half of these are directly related to sports. They are often caused by landing the foot the wrong way or being suddenly moved, such as if you’re tackled playing football.
Other ankle injuries include fractures, which may be a partial or complete breakage of any of the bones of the ankle; tendinitis, inflammation of the tendons and joints; gout, a highly painful condition caused by uric acid buildup; or, arthritis, a condition typified by swelling and stiffness in the joints.
Ignored Injuries = Prolonged Recovery
As a podiatrist, Dr. Malin tells her patients not to be embarrassed if they visit the office for even a small injury. Anything that causes discomfort when stepping or bearing weight should be evaluated. Failure to do so can make it harder to fully heal and may even affect the way you walk. In fact, some people who’ve experienced ankle breaks and injuries as a child have an uneven gait throughout their entire lifetime. Later down the road, this can cause hip, knee, and spine pain.
Dr. Malin also points out that untreated ligament tears can cause unstable joints and make the ankle even more vulnerable to fractures, strains, and sprains in the future. The podiatrist also says that in the long-term, untreated ankle damage today may result in osteoarthritis in your later years.
How To Handle An Ankle Injury
If you can’t walk, seek medical treatment immediately. If you can walk but it’s painful, call your podiatrist for the first available appointment. Until you can be seen, Dr. Malin suggests rest, ice, and compression. Elevate your ankle, and stay off of your feet!
What Kind Of Treatment Can A Podiatrist Offer?
Your podiatrist has an arsenal of tools she can use to help you heal. This may include anything from an air cast or temporary brace to surgery and physical therapy. The type of treatment you receive will depend on the degree of your injury.
While most ankle injuries won’t cause any life-long problems, the fact is that anything that hurt your feet, ankle, or toes can leave you at risk of major problems in the future. These areas are complex, and your podiatrist has all of the knowledge, skills, and experience to get you back on your feet safely and as soon as possible.
Did you know? Premier Foot & Ankle care makes house calls for patients who can’t make it into the office. If you live within a 15-mile radius of our office, give us a call, and let our doctor come to you.