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Posts for category: Ankles

By Dr. Michael Stein
November 12, 2014
Category: Ankles
Tags: Broken Ankle   severe sprain  

This upcoming Monday, Nov. 17, is National Take a Hike Day. If you have the time, it’s a good excuse to get outside, go exploring, and take in some of the beautiful sights—urban and natural—the Bay Area has to offer. If you’ve suffered a serious ankle injury, though, it might be your pain that you’d like to go take a hike! You might also wonder what kind of injury you have—specifically, whether it’s a broken ankle or a severe sprain.

The difference between a severe sprain and a broken ankle is simple—sprains involve damage to the ligaments that hold bones together, while a broken ankle is a fracture or break in the bone itself. However, it may not always be obvious from the symptoms, as the two can superficially mimic one another. A severe sprain may also be masking a fracture if both occur at the same time. In either case, you can expect pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty bearing weight on the joint, and in either case you should get off your feet immediately and follow the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) protocol for acute care.

Because of the similarity in symptoms, it’s in your best interest to get a painful ankle injury checked by an expert right away. There are a few minor differences, though, that can help you make an on-the-spot assessment. While this is no replacement for a diagnosis from a trained medical professional, it can help guide your initial response.

More than fractures, sprains tend to result in stiffness in the joint. That’s because the ligaments that hold bones together also allow them to move through the normal range of the joint; torn or swollen ligaments will often reduce range of motion (or at least make it more difficult or painful). Broken ankles, by contrast, are generally more tender to the touch. Also, if the joint looks deformed, or like anything is out of place, it’s probably broken.

You don’t want to mess around with a severe ankle injury—ignoring the pain or failing to take the right treatment steps necessary can lead to chronic pain and arthritis that can last for years. If you suffer an injury, call the experts at Foot Doctor of the East Bay for a full examination and treatment plan. We have three Bay Area offices to serve you; reach us at (510) 483-3390.

Image by macblack on pixabay.com

Sprained Ankle RehabCalifornia’s largest recreation district is right here in our backyard! H.A.R.D., the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, manages over 100 East Bay parks and offers adult recreational leagues in sports like soccer, volleyball, softball, and tennis.

If you’ve been playing sports (in a H.A.R.D. league or otherwise) and have suffered an ankle sprain, you’ll need an ankle rehab program to regain flexibility and strength in the joint. Once the pain and swelling have subsided, you’re ready to begin some basic stretches to restore your range of motion. Here are some good ones to try:

  • From a seated position, slowly bring your foot and ankle upward. You should feel a stretch in your calf. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
  • Do the same seated, 10-second, 10-repetitions stretch as above in the following positions as well: ankle down and in, ankle down and out, and toes down and forward.
  • Stand on the edge of a stair with forefoot and toes on the step and heels over the edge. Drop your heels as far as you can and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
  • As soon as you can start bearing weight comfortably and your range of motion has been restored, you’re ready for strengthening exercises to rebuild weakened muscles. These are some of our favorites:
  • Stand facing a wall with your heels on the ground and your toes as high up as they can go, and hold the stretch for 10 seconds.
  • Wrap a resistance band around your foot and grip it firmly with both hands. Gently and slowly extend your foot, hold the stretch, and return. Repeat 10 times.
  • Tie a resistance band around a steady object such as a heavy table leg (nothing that will move or snap). Wrap the band around your forefoot with toes pointed downward. Now pull your toes toward you, hold the stretch, and return. Repeat 10 times.
  • With the resistance band still tied to that object, stand up and wrap it around the outside of your foot, then stretch inward 10 times. When you’re done, face the other way and reverse the process.

If you’ve sprained your ankle, call Foot Doctor of the East Bay in San Leandro. We’ll examine your injury, rule out any other complications, such as a fracture, and set you on the right treatment and ankle rehab plan. Dial (510) 483-3390 to set up an appointment.

Photo credit: marin via freedigitalphotos.net



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