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Your ankles are some of the most valuable joints in your entire body. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to walk, run, jump, or even operate the gas and brake pedals in your car. When healthy, your ankles allow you to stay mobile and independent.
In spite of all they do for us, it’s easy to take our ankles for granted. But if an ankle injury causes pain, swelling, stiffness, or lack of mobility, you can quickly become aware of just how much you rely on them.
The good news is that we can treat these injuries for you – and usually without needing surgery.
If you have a severe ankle sprain, break an ankle, or suffer any of these other ankle injuries, give us a call at (317) 545-0505 or request your appointment online. We’ll get you back on your feet!
What are common ankle injuries?
As with any area of your body, there are numerous ankle injuries and conditions that can develop. Some that we treat more frequently include:
- Ankle Sprains. Since they are so common, some people consider ankles sprains to be “not a big deal.” That’s a big mistake. Left untreated, a sprained ankle can ultimately lead to chronic ankle instability. Also, these sprains share many symptoms with ankle fractures. Proper diagnosis and treatment will ensure your ankle heals correctly and minimize your risk for long-term damage.
- Sinus Tarsitis/Sinus Tarsi Syndrome. The sinus tarsus is an opening between your ankle (talus) and heel (calcaneus) bones, on the outside of your foot. Sinus tarsi syndrome is characterized by a feeling of instability and pain along the front and side of your ankle. This is a secondary injury to an ankle sprain (further reason not to overlook that common injury!) and can develop when there is excessive and localized pressure on the outer ankle.
- Posterior Tibial Tendinitis. Inflammation of the posterior tibial tendon(s) is an injury from either an acute incident (a sudden event) or overuse. In both cases, you may experience pain along the inside of your foot and ankle. The pain tends to worsen during physical activities. This injury is associated with your foot rolling in excessively when you walk (overpronation).
- Ankle Fractures. The bones comprising your ankle joints — the tibia, fibula, calcaneus, and tarsus — can fracture when subjected to enough physical force (including cumulative forces from too much high-impact activity). There are a variety of fractures you can sustain. Treatment is typically centered on keeping the injured area stable so your damaged bone(s) can mend correctly.
How can you use first aid for ankle injuries?
There is an 80% chance of optimal healing for an ankle injury if you address the problem right away. The best way to do so is with the PRICE technique:
- Protection. Your starting point for this treatment is to protect the affected area from sustaining further injury. This means putting the old “walk it off” or “it’s merely a flesh wound” mindset to rest.
- Rest. Speaking of rest, this is the second part of the PRICE protocol. Your body has remarkable abilities to repair damaged tissue. To do so, however, you need to rest. This also helps you avoid further injury.
- Ice. Controlling inflammation is huge for optimal healing. Putting ice on the injured ankle as soon as possible is a great starting point. Keep the ice on for about 15-20 minutes. Do this multiple times during the day (but wait about an hour between icing sessions).
- Compression. Compression is another way to reduce swelling. Use a compression wrap, but if you start to feel tingly below the wrap, loosen it a bit. A major problem with Ace wraps is that one area can be compressed/strangled more than another and block fluid from escaping.
- Elevate. Keeping your leg elevated above heart level is an approach used to prevent the area from becoming swollen with excessive fluid. Since you have to rest anyhow, prop your leg up on a couple of pillows while you relax on your couch or bed. Gravity is a tremendous force that can either work for you or against you.
What are your professional ankle injury treatment options?
Naturally, the treatment for whichever ankle problem you are experiencing will depend on several variables, including the nature of the injury itself.
We’ve already discussed the PRICE method for ankle sprains and injuries, and you may find that we incorporate some of these elements in your treatment plan. Other nonsurgical options include corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, laser therapy, and orthotic devices.
These treatments are not equally applicable for all conditions. For example, we do not use steroid injections for posterior tibial tendinitis, since that can weaken the collagen in connective tissues.
As always, our aim is to “change the environment” (nonsurgical care), rather than “change the foot” (surgery). In some cases, however, surgery is the recommended option. And this mainly applies to severe injuries or if conservative treatment is not proving as effective as we had hoped.
In cases where Dr. Leibovitz determines surgery is the best option, he will discuss it with you and give you the opportunity to ask questions and give your own feedback. This way, you understand your choices and can make a decision that makes sense for you.
If you have any questions about ankle injuries or want to schedule an appointment at our Indianapolis office, simply call us at (317) 545-0505. Our staff will be happy to help you!
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