Information on Fractures
Fractures, otherwise known as broken bones, of the foot and ankle are very common. 280,933 foot and ankle fractures occurred in the United States between 2007 and 2011. There are many different types of fractures that can occur and an almost infinite number of ways to fracture them.
Types of fractures include: Stable (bones are lined up and under the skin); compound (skin is broken and fracture is exposed); comminuted (broken into more than two fragments); intra-articular (fracture extends into and involves the joint); growth plate fractures (occurring in children, the fracture extends into the open growth plate of a child who is still undergoing longitudinal growth, i.e. they are still getting taller).
Please note that the above is a very abridged list. Symptoms typically (but not always) involve significant pain, bruising, swelling, difficulty in weight bearing, and possible loss of use of an affected joint (such as the ankle or big toe).
These symptoms may be dramatic…but not always. A common myth, unfortunately, is that if one can use the injured foot or ankle, then the foot or ankle is not broken. This is not the case. Delay in treating fractures can lead to significant complication. These complications because of delay of treatment can potentially cause life long disability and/or pain.
It is important to see a medical specialist if one has injury that they suspect has caused a fracture. This will allow appropriate intervention which may involve protective shoe gear, fiberglass casting, removable cast, non-weight bearing, and/or surgical intervention.
If there are any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate in contacting our office.
Information on Injuries and Sprains
Ankle injuries may occur in many ways. This article focuses on soft tissue injuries to the ankle as opposed to breaking the bones of the ankle joint. An injury to the soft tissue structures of the ankle may occur within the ankle joint, outside the ankle joint, or a combination of both.
For example, an ankle sprain where the ankle ligaments are strained and torn is one very common way to injure the ankle. This often occurs from sports injuries, work injuries, or a simple misstep that twists the ankle. There is usually swelling and pain with this. At times there may even be bruising.
Another example of an ankle injury involves the partial or complete detachment of a segment of cartilage within the ankle joint. This loose fragment may float or become impinged within the joint causing the ankle to feel like it is “catching”. This is usually most painful going up or down the stairs often times making the patient turn sideways to move up and down the stairs to prevent extending and flexing the ankle joint.
A third example of an ankle injury would involve the tendons that cross the ankle joint. Most tendons, as they cross the ankle joint, are wrapped in a tendon sheath which lubricates the tendon as it curves around to insert into the foot. A tear of the tendon or inflammation of the tendon sheath can cause significant pain and tends to become progressively worse without intervention.
Treatment for these ankle injuries and the myriad of other types of ankle problems requires appropriate diagnosis. The majority of these ankle soft tissue problems are difficult to appreciate on X-Rays and additional diagnostic testing including Ultra-Sound, MRI, Arthrograms, and Tenograms may be necessary.
If you or someone you love is complaining of ankle pain, please do not hesitate to contact me, Dr. Michael A. Wood, at the Foot Health Institute. Thank you.
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