We've all taken an occasional spill and hurt ourselves. It's easy to slip and fall when faced with slippery or uneven surfaces or hazardous conditions like broken or unlit stairs.
One of the most common injuries in a fall is to the ankle. Ankle injuries can range from a simple sprain to serious damage that causes severe pain and limited mobility.
Let's talk about ankle anatomy first:
How Your Ankle Works
Your ankle joint is a complex structure that involves 3 bones, tendons and a joint capsule. The lower portions of the 2 leg bones - the tibia and fibula - form the upper and outer ankle bones. These join together to form an arch that sits on top of a foot bone called the talus.
This bony architecture is covered by a membrane called the joint capsule with a tissue layer inside called the synovium. The synovium encases the bones and lubricates the bone movements to allow you to walk. Finally, ligaments and tendons hold the whole joint structure together.
When you hurt your ankle, any of these components can be damaged: The bones, tendons, ligaments or the synovium inside the joint capsule.
Types of Ankle Injuries
Falling can damage your ankle in several ways. Tripping over an object may cause your ankle to roll. Another type of damage can occur when your ankle twists side-to-side or when the joint is hyperextended.
In all these cases, the ankle joint suffers excessive stress and any of these injuries may result:
- Sprains or strains. With these injuries, the bones are undamaged but the supporting ligaments are stretched or injured.
- Fractures. An ankle fracture can involve a leg bone near the joint or the foot bone.
- Torn ligaments or tendons. Here the bones aren't harmed but the supporting tendons or ligaments are torn, causing serious pain and ankle weakening.
All these types of ankle injuries present with similar symptoms: Pain that is often sudden and severe, swelling, bruising and the inability to put weight on the foot.
Treating Ankle Injuries
Please contact us at Palm Beach Orthopaedic Institute if you have hurt your ankle. Walking on a severely injured ankle can only make the injury worse.
For emergency treatment before you are able to get to our office, use the R.I.C.E. method of:
- Ice the area for 20 minutes out of each hour,
- Use a Compression bandage, and
- Elevate the leg.
We Can Help with Exercise or Sports Foot Injuries
Dr. John Schilero, DPM, board certified podiatrist has extensive experience in treating foot and ankle injuries brought on or worsened by working out or participating in sports. Please call us at 561-694-7776 EXT. 41 to make an appointment at one of our four offices conveniently located in Palm Beach County. You can also request an appointment at the website.