MECHANISM OF INJURY
The ankle is a complicated structure, with three bones and several tendons and ligaments surrounding it. There are many structures that can be injured when the ankle is twisted or rapidly moved in an awkward position, through a fall or abnormal step. Ankle injuries are common injuries for those who are live an active lifestyle. Furthermore, sporting events, wet or snowy weather, people who always wear flip flops or high healed shoes, those who are constantly walking on irregular surfaces are suseptible to further injury as well.
The most common parts of the ankle to be injured when it is turned incorrectly are the ankle ligaments on the outside of the ankle: the anterior talofibular ligament, the calcaneofibular ligament, and the posterior talofibular ligament. Early onset may include pain, swelling, and instability . Typically, the best initial treatment for this injury includes RICE: rest, ice, compression (ace wrap, soft cast, splint, or walking boot), and elevation. X-Rays are typically ordered to make sure the bones are not broken, but injured ligaments are not visible on regular X-Rays, and therfore, more extensive studies, such as MRI may be necessary. MRIs look at soft tissue structures that cannot be visualized on X-Rays. Medication and physical therapy may also be initiated to reduce the inflammation in the area. If there are tears in the ligaments, more rigorous immobilization or surgery may be indicated.
You can prevent ankle injuries by wearing supportive shoegear and avoiding flip flops or high healed shoes. It is important to take extra care when walking on irregular surfaces or in wet or snowy conditions, as it is easier to twist the ankle.
If you think you have sprained your ankle, please call Dr. Bender at Advanced Physical Medicine for your appointment. Dr. Bender has been practicing in the Chicagoland area for the last ten years and is a clinical instructor for William Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine.