Foot and ankle injuries are common, and can be very painful. They can also have severe consequences if left untreated. More than half of all people who develop foot problems will have them get worse over time. If you are experiencing pain around your foot or ankle, see Marque A. Allen DPM, FACFAS immediately.
Types of foot and ankle injuries
Several different types of foot and ankle injuries can occur. Most commonly, these include sprains and fractures.
- Sprains: Sprains occur when a ligament is stretched beyond its natural range of motion. This causes the ligament to tear and separate from its attachment point on the bone.
- Fractures: These occur when there is a break or crack in bone or cartilage due to trauma or force on bones during physical activity or injury, such as stepping on something sharp.
Best treatment options for foot and ankle injuries
Several medications can be taken to treat foot and ankle injuries. The most common type of medication used is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as aspirin or ibuprofen. NSAIDs decrease pain and swelling.
- Physical therapy
Physical therapy helps restore function to an injured area. This may include stretching the muscles around the joint and strengthening the tendons and ligaments that support it. This can help reduce pain and swelling which are common effects of an injury like a strain or sprain. Physical therapy may also involve exercises designed to increase the range of motion for joints near injured areas, which can help prevent long-term problems from developing in those joints.
A brace is a device worn on the foot and ankle to support it while recovering from an injury. They are designed to help stabilize a fractured or sprained ankle and reduce pain and swelling in the area. Braces can be customized to fit your needs, so they should be comfortable and easy to put on, take off and adjust as needed. If you have a high-heeled shoe or boot, it may need to be removed before applying a brace. Some braces come with an elastic bandage that can be used over the front of the shoe or boot for added support when walking or standing.
If you have a fracture, you may need crutches for support as you walk around after surgery or treatment. Crutches with rubber tips are more comfortable than metal tips because they help absorb shock when walking up and down steps. Some lightweight aluminum crutches fold up small enough to fit in your purse or pocket when not in use. These can make it easier for patients with limited mobility to get around their homes.
Foot and ankle injuries are complex and challenging conditions that can significantly lower the patient’s fitness level and quality of life. These injuries span a wide spectrum of severity. However, they all may require some form of treatment and management to help affected individuals heal properly, return to their day-to-day activities as quickly as possible and play sports again when appropriate. If you have suffered foot and ankle injuries, contact your trusted physician for treatment.