Why Are Ankle Injuries So Common?

orthopedist in NYC

Why Are Ankle Injuries So Common?

Ankle injuries have long been coined as one of the most common sports injuries. Although the injury is synonymous with athletes playing intense games, most forget that you don’t have to be an athlete to injure your ankle. Anything as simple as walking or even wearing the wrong kinds of shoes can cause an ankle injury to occur. It can be painful and debilitating, leaving you unable to walk, run, or perform normal day-to-day activities. It’s important that anyone who suspects they have an ankle injury seeks immediate medical attention. At New York Sports Medicine Institute, our skilled orthopedist in NYC, Dr. Neil S. Roth, can help evaluate your injury and provide you with the proper treatment plan for you. Members of our staff specialize in sports injuries but also help all patients, 3 years old and up, get the treatment they need to recover and reach their greatest potential. 

What are the different types of ankle injuries?

The way we define ankle injuries is based on the type of tissue that is affected. Whether it’s tendons, ligaments, or bone, there are various ways we categorize ankle injuries. A fracture involves the break of one or multiple bones in the ankle. A sprain occurs when the ligaments are stretched past their natural range of motion. Ligament sprains, in particular, can involve multiple microtears or a complete tear. Similar to a sprain, a strain is when the muscles and tendons have been stretched too far, beyond their normal range. Ankle strains typically occur in the peroneal tendons and are often a result of a sudden injury or trauma. 

The common causes

Ankle injuries occur when the ankle is twisted far past its natural positioning, causing the onset of various symptoms. It’s usually brought on during sports activities, but it can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Some of the most common causes for an ankle injury besides sports include: 

  • Falling down or tripping.
  • Walking or running on uneven surfaces. 
  • Sudden impacts, such as being in a car accident or riding on a roller coaster.
  • Twisting or rolling the ankle.

What are the signs of an ankle injury?

Diagnosing an ankle injury should be done only by a skilled orthopedist, as most injuries to this extremity have similar symptoms. Fractures are often mistaken as sprains because both create almost identical warning signs, such as the following:

  • Swelling.
  • Bruising.
  • Tenderness.
  • Pain, both sudden and severe at times.
  • The inability to walk or bear weight on the affected foot or joint.

Also, depending on the severity of your injury, the swelling, pain levels, tenderness, and bruising can all vary. It’s crucial that if you or someone you know is experiencing the signs of an ankle injury that they seek an evaluation from an orthopedic doctor immediately. Our orthopedist in NYC is well experienced in diagnosing ankle injuries and ruling out all other possible conditions such as tendonitis or arthritis. 

How are ankle injuries diagnosed?

The first step in the process of determining an ankle injury is giving your doctor all the facts about the events leading up to the injury. The doctor will most likely inquire about how it occurred and your current/previous levels of pain. Next, the actual evaluation of the affected ankle will take place. The doctor will conduct a physical examination, noting any signs of bruising or swelling. He or she may also order an x-ray to be taken to determine whether or not there are any broken bones present. If a stress fracture is suspected, the doctor may even take it a step further and ask for further imaging scans such as an MRI or stress test to be done. 

Majority of the time, pain from ankle injuries are usually controlled with over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. The actual treatment of the ankle will depend on the type and the severity of the injury. 

Treatment Methods 

For each type of ankle injury, there is a specific variation of treatment method. Fractures can either be treated with surgical or non-surgical methods, depending on the severity of the break. Your doctor will likely analyze and then recommend the best option for your specific injury and recovery process. The nonsurgical solution for treating an ankle fracture is placing the foot in a cast to provide extra support and protection. Typically, the cast will be kept on for at least six weeks. During this time, your doctor might ask that you avoid placing any weight on the area. Additional treatment after the cast is removed might also be recommended to help revive a normal range of motion.

Sprains and strains typically don’t require surgery for the recovery process. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) Is a common method used to treat these types of ankle injuries. The doctor might also prescribe you to attend physical therapy or perform daily strengthening exercises to help rebuild your ankle strength. 

Contact Us

Ankle injuries can be extremely painful and can greatly impair your day-to-day life. Don’t allow yourself to endure the pain, get the treatment you need for your recovery. Make an appointment with our orthopedist in NYC and see how we can help get you back to feeling your best. Contact us at New York Sports Medicine Institute today!