If you’ve suffered an ankle injury, sprain or fracture, you know the pain involved. Dr. Jeffery LaMour, DPM, PA is ready to provide you with effective ankle injury solutions designed to meet your specific needs. Dr. LaMour is a top podiatrist who serves patients in Texas, Pflugerville and Austin.
Dr. LaMour doesn’t simply relieve the pain associated with your injury, but rather provides solutions for correcting the condition and providing you with a shorter recovery period, so you can get back on your feet, enjoy greater mobility and experience a better quality of life.
What is an Ankle Fracture or Sprain?
You define ankle injuries by the type of tissues (ligament, tendon or bone) that are injured. For background, you have three bones in your ankle that meet — your lower leg fibula and tibia meet with the talus of your foot. Ligaments hold these bones together at your ankle joint. These are strong connective tissue bands that keep your bones in place and allow normal ankle motion. There are muscles attached to the bones through tendons and are responsible for making your foot and ankle move, helping to keep your joints stable.
Fractures are where you have a break in one or more of these bones and a sprain is where your ligaments become damaged due to being stretched past their regular range of motion.
What are the Causes of Ankle Injuries?
There are various causes of ankle injuries.
Your joint becomes injured when you stress your ankle joint past the strength of its elements.
Causes of ankle injuries are:
Tearing a ligament.
Breaking a bone.
Twisting your ankle side to side.
Rolling your ankle in or out.
Coming directly down on your joint (i.e. jump from a high level) applying severe force to your joint.
Extreme extending or flexing of your joint.
What are the Symptoms of an Ankle Fracture or Sprain?
You could experience similar symptoms for both a fracture or a strain. Sometimes, fractures are even mistaken for sprains. This is why you should always have a doctor evaluate your ankle injury immediately.
Ankle injury symptoms may include:
Pain, often severe and sudden
Inability to bear weight on your injured joint or inability to walk
The pain is often intense enough to keep you from walking
You might have bruising around your ankle joint, not always immediately. This bruising might extend down toward your toes or sole of your foot
You might notice obvious deformities of your ankle bones with a severe fracture
Your bone might be exposed
The skin might stretch over an underlying broken bone
What are the Treatments for Ankle Fractures and Sprains?
There are several treatment options for fractures and sprains doctors may recommend.
Treatment of Fractures
They may treat fractures either nonsurgically or surgically. They might first try to immobilize your ankle to treat the break without surgery if you only have one broken bone and if your ankle is stable and the bones aren’t out of place.
Brace or cast: Generally, your doctor will place a brace on you that will work like a splint, or they may put on a cast.
Surgery: If your ankle isn’t stable, the doctor will treat your fracture surgically. They often stable it by using screws and a metal plate to hold your bones in place. After surgery, they’ll protect your ankle with a splint until you have less swelling, and then they’ll put on a cast.
Healing and recovery: Bones typically take a minimum of six weeks to heal. During this time, you’ll want to keep weight off your ankle to allow your bones to heal in the right alignment. It might take longer for tendons and ligaments to heal once your fracture is completely healed. After an ankle fracture, it could even take as long as two years for you to totally recover and be able to experience strength and pain-free motion, however, some individuals can go back to their regular day-to-day routine in as little as three to four months.
Physical therapy: Once your doctor has determined you can safely move your ankle, you might require physical therapy to provide strengthening, gait training, mobility and balance.
Treatment of Sprains
Sprain treatment will depend on how severe your injury is. Sprains can be mild, moderate or severe and are graded as such.
RICE: Grade 1 (mild sprains) are treated using the RICE approach (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) for a few days until the swelling and pain improve.
RICE and boot or splint: Grade 2 (moderate sprains) are also treated with the RICE approach, however, you require more healing time. The doctor will immobilize your ankle with a device like a splint or boot.
Physical therapy and exercises: You’ll be provided with exercises to help improve your range of motion and then to strengthen and stretch your ankle. Physical therapy can also help you regain total ankle use.
Surgery: Surgery isn’t typically needed unless you have extensive damage, involving more than your ligaments or if you’ve tried other treatments with no success. Grade 3 (severe sprains) involve a total rupture or tear of your ligament and sometimes do require surgery to reconstruct your torn ligaments. Grade 3 sprains take significantly longer healing periods. The doctor might first try joint immobilization and follow up with a longer physical therapy period for stretching, improving range of motion and building strength.
How Can I Prevent Ankle Injuries?
There are ways you can try to prevent ankle injuries, including:
Flexibility: Proper flexibility is the first element to preventing ankle injury. It’s important to stretch your calf muscle to prepare the muscle for certain demands like running and jumping.
Strengthening: The next element is strengthening. Your doctor or physical therapist might set you up with a simple program that consists of calf raises and heel walking to help strengthen the muscles around your ankle.
Proprioception: Your body has receptors that exist within your ligaments, soft tissue structures and muscle tendons that surround your joints. They relay joint position information back to your central nervous system and need to be trained on how to quickly respond to help reduce the possibility of injury. A single leg balance is an easy exercise that should help. For 30 to 60 seconds, you stand on one leg and repeat a few times. Start off with your eyes open and gradually close your eyes. Then you switch legs. Once you’ve mastered that, you’ll stand on a single leg and do a half-squat. Do each leg for one set of 15. For these, you’ll start off by holding on to a chair or table and then progress to no hands and eventually closed eyes.
Contact Dr. LaMour to Help Treat Your Ankle Injury
The best thing you can do if you’re suffering from an ankle injury is to call Dr. LaMour in Pflugerville or Austin, TX. He’ll provide you with a thorough exam of your ankle, review your medical history and go over your symptoms. He’ll then tailor up the best treatment approach for this painful condition to get you back on your feet as soon as possible. Contact us today to set up your appointment.
8015 Shoal Creek Blvd Suite 119
Austin, TX 78757
Phone: (512) 451-3668
200 N Heatherwilde Blvd
Pflugerville, TX 78660
Phone: (512) 451-3668