An ankle or foot sprain is a soft tissue injury that occurs when an injury stretches or tears the ligaments that connect bone to bone. Many sprains happen during sports, especially basketball and football. However, you may sprain your ankle just tripping on uneven ground or stepping the wrong way off a curb.
If you have sprained your ankle, you will find it hard to walk on that foot. Your foot will swell and show bruising and you will feel extreme pain and stiffness.
Treating Ankle Sprains
R.I.C.E. is the best way to begin treatment at home: Rest your ankle or foot until you can see a doctor. Ice the area as soon as possible to reduce inflammation and reapply every three or 4 hours. Apply compression by wrapping an elastic bandage around the affected ankle. Elevate the leg on pillows, above your heart if possible.
If the pain and swelling have not subsided in a day or so or if you have difficulty walking, please come see a podiatrist for assessment of your injury. We will carefully examine your ankle and feet and order imaging tests like an X-ray, ultrasound or MRI to confirm our diagnosis.
Immobilization is important to complete healing of a sprain. After a period, you may be able to resume some activities by wearing a special boot or soft cast with crutches. Oral anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen can reduce pain, inflammation and swelling.
Preventing Ankle Sprains
To avoid ankle sprains, always wear the proper athletic shoes for your activity. Replace shoes when worn out. Avoid walking or running on uneven surfaces.
Flat foot is a common condition where the foot’s arch is flattened and the entire sole of the foot touches the ground when standing. Your arch helps absorb force during weight-bearing activities like running and walking.
Flat foot tends to run in families. An individual may be born with flat feet, or they can be caused by nerve issues, rheumatoid arthritis, damaged tendons or an injury. Those with flat feet should avoid high-impact sports like running and basketball.
Adult-acquired flatfoot is a painful condition caused by inflammation of the posterior tibial tendon. If untreated, this issue can lead to chronic pain and even serious disability. Those with flat feet are predisposed to this tendonitis.
You may have no symptoms with flat feet, but this condition can cause:
- Easily-tired feet
- Aches and pains in the arches and heels
- Difficulty standing on tip-toe
- Hip, leg and back pain
- Swollen soles
If you must limit your activities because of pain, non-invasive therapies include:
- Stretching exercises
- Physical therapy
- Supportive taping or bracing
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Custom-fitted orthotics to support the arch
- Wearing supportive shoes
We may discuss surgery with you to relieve pain and restore normal function if the foot is damaged or if the pain is severe.
A fracture is a break in the bone, as opposed to a soft tissue injury such as a sprain or strain. A stress fracture is a tiny bone break caused by overuse, and often developing over time rather than suddenly.
Injuries are the most common causes of foot and ankle fractures, especially during sports like basketball and football. Trip and fall accidents may cause a fracture as can a vehicle or bicycle accident.
A fractured foot or ankle will cause pain, bruising and swelling. It will be difficult to walk on the injured foot or ankle.
If you suspect that you have broken a bone, use R.I.C.E. treatment at home before you can get to medical treatment:
- Rest the foot and leg.
- Ice the area as quickly as possible, and reapply every 3 or 4 hours for 15-20 minutes each time.
- Use an elastic bandage to apply compression to minimize swelling.
- Elevate the leg on pillows, preferably higher than your heart.
Ibuprofen can help relieve pain and swelling.
For a serious break, or if your pain and swelling persists after a day or two and you still have difficulty walking, get to your foot doctor or emergency room right away.
Your podiatrist will assess your injury with imaging tests such as an X-ray. An ultrasound or MRI can help diagnose stress fractures as well as soft tissue injuries.
Treatment depends on your injury. A serious break may require metal plates and screws to line up the bone properly.
Stress fractures need rest and immobilization with a special boot or a cast and crutches.
Custom-fitted orthotics are prescribed by a foot doctor and are designed to support and comfort your feet. Orthotics are manufactured after a thorough exam of your feet, ankles and legs, and so these inserts fit your unique foot structure and needs.
There are two types of orthotics:
- Functional orthotics help to control abnormal motion and the pain associated with this condition. They are usually made of a semi-rigid material like graphite or plastic.
- Accommodative orthotics provide cushioning and support and can help treat diabetic foot ulcers and painful calluses.
Orthotics are effective in treating foot problems like plantar fasciitis, bursitis, tendonitis and heel, foot and ankle pain.
Shoe inserts can be found in many retail stores, but they are “one-size-fits-all.” Custom orthotics, however, are molded to fit your foot and made of high-quality materials that are durable for years, with proper care. A prescription orthotic is made to fit your specific foot and designed to relieve your unique foot health needs.
Creating Custom Orthotics
We will first assess your overall health and evaluate your pain or discomfort along with contributing factors. After a thorough examination of your feet, we will check your gait and watch the movement of your feet, ankles and legs.
Based on our evaluation, we will design the right orthotics to relieve your foot problem. Your custom devices will improve your foot movement for more mobility and comfort.