Did you know that each of your ankles can sustain 1.5 times the impact of your body weight with each step when you walk, and up to 8 times your body weight with each step when you run or jump?
The remarkable strength and stability of your ankles are attributed to their complex design. Each of your ankles is formed when your lower leg bones (fibula and tibia) meet your foot bone (talus). Several strong bands of tissue (ligaments) hold these bones together. The muscles and tendons together support the ankle to propel your body and allow for smooth gait.
Your ankle bears the brunt of your body weight and everyday movements, and such function makes it highly susceptible to injuries.
Let’s explore the three common ankle injuries and when to see an ankle specialist for them.
An ankle strain is usually a result of the muscles and tendons being stretched beyond their capacity. However, an ankle strain can also be a result of chronic ankle tendonitis, which can weaken the tendons and make them prone to injury.
This type of ankle injury typically causes pain, swelling, bruising, ankle instability, and tenderness when you touch it.
Overuse, hard landings, and repeated articulations or tiptoeing increase a person’s risk of getting an ankle strain.
Most of ankle strains can be treated with basic remedies, such as the R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method. However, severe cases—those that are characterized by severe pain, inflammation, and limited range of motion—need the intervention of an ankle specialist. Ankle strains may require immobilization (bracing or splinting) or surgery, in cases of a torn tendon.
Far more common than ankle strains, ankle sprains occur when the ligaments (tissues that connect the bones to each other) are stretched beyond their capacity or when the ankle slips out of its normal range of motion.
Symptoms of this type of ankle injury include pain, swelling, loss of mobility, and inability to bear weight.
Sports, exercise, sudden stops, tripping, and falling can lead to a sprain. While they may be common, ankle sprains still need the evaluation of an ankle specialist. Improperly treated acute ankle sprains can result in chronic instability or ankle arthritis.
An ankle fracture is a break in any of the bones in the ankle. An ankle fracture occurs when the force of an impact is more than what the bone can handle.
Ankle fractures can produce symptoms that warrant the intervention of an ankle specialist: severe pain, limited mobility, and inability to bear weight on the affected foot.
An ankle specialist needs to determine severity of the break; thus, they may order an X-ray. Serious fractures, such as complex and open ankle fractures, likely require surgery for proper alignment and healing.
Ankle Specialists in San Antonio, TX
Podiatrists are essentially ankle specialists; they underwent intensive training and are fully equipped to treat even the most complex cases of foot and ankle injuries.
At The Podiatry Group of South Texas, our board-certified podiatrists provide the most advanced, comprehensive treatments for all types of ankle injuries. We also offer state-of-the-art, on-site X-rays and ultrasound, so you can have everything done in one visit.