Ankle Disorders, Diagnosis and Treatment
The ankle allows us to move our foot up and down and supports us in our daily activities. The demands on the ankle make it prone to injury, especially in athletes. Roughly 25,000 ankle sprains occur in the United States every single day.
The most common ankle problems are sprains (injury to the ligaments) and fractures (break in the bone), followed quickly by arthritis and tendonitis.
If you have an ankle injury you may experience stiffness, instability, pain, difficulty walking, bruising, and swelling.
Diagnosis and Treatment
To diagnose an ankle disorder, your doctor will evaluate your symptoms, examine your ankle and foot, and ask about any recent injuries.
To look for bone fractures or tendon tears, imaging tests will be needed. These tests include:
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- computed tomography (CT) scan
Treatment depends on your symptoms and condition. Less severe ankle injuries may be treated with pain medicines, rest, keeping the ankle elevated, compression bandages, cortisone injections, or ice packs.
More severe ankle conditions, such as ruptured tendons, fractures or arthritis, may require surgical treatment. Our team specializes in procedures to treat these conditions, including ankle replacement, ankle fusion, and ankle ligament reconstruction.
Ankle Replacement Surgery
Total ankle replacement surgery is a procedure that replaces damaged bone and cartilage in the ankle joint with prosthetics (artificial joint parts). The goal of ankle replacement surgery is to lessen or eliminate pain, and allow you to move your ankle up and down.
Types of Ankle Disorders
- Ankle sprains
- Peroneal tendon tears
- Ankle impingement
- Acute ankle fractures and stress fractures
- Chronic ankle instability
- Peroneus tendon tear
- Subtalar instability
- Osteochondral injury of the talus
- Syndesmosis injury
- Dancing injuries (posterior and anterior ankle impingement, Os trigonum syndrome,Flexor Hallucis Longus (FHL) tendonitis)
See below for information on the most common ankle conditions.
Ankle sprains are partial or complete tears of ligaments in both the inner (medial) and outer (lateral) aspects of the ankle that connect the bones of the ankle in order to stabilize the ankle joint. The most commonly seen ankle sprain results from an inversion injury to the ankle in which the foot twists inward, causing pain on the outside of the ankle. The degree of pain and swelling can range from mild to severe, and the ankle may feel weak or unstable. Occasionally high ankle sprains occur as well and can sometimes require surgery.
Peroneal Tendon Tear
The two peroneal tendons run parallel in the foot behind the outer ankle bone and help stabilize the ankle and foot and safeguard them from sprains. Peroneal tendon injuries most commonly occur in people who participate in sports that involve prolonged ankle motion or sudden cutting movements. Timely and accurate diagnosis and treatment is important to keep a peroneal tendon tear from worsening.
Ankle impingement can affect either posterior or anterior aspect of the ankle joint, and is usually associated with athletic activities such as high jumping, running and soccer. Symptoms of ankle impingement include chronic anterior ankle pain and swelling as well as a history of previous ankle sprains.
How can you prevent ankle disorders?
You can prevent ankle disorders by maintaining good physical fitness, strength, and flexibility. Regular exercise is crucial for building strong bones and maintaining good balance. Other behaviors that can prevent ankle disorders include:
- stretching and warming up before and after physical activity
- wearing comfortable shoes that provide ankle support
- paying attention to your body’s warning signs and not pushing yourself too hard
Most ankle injuries can be avoided by taking the proper precautions before strenuous exercise. If you do feel unusual pain in your ankle during physical activity, or suspect an injury, contact your doctor immediately.
RIVERA FOOT & ANKLE: At Orlando H.Rivera DPM, our priority is to deliver quality care to informed patients in a comfortable and convenient setting. When you have problems with your feet, you need to turn to a podiatrist who listens and responds… an experienced doctor who knows the field and can effectively diagnose and treat your needs… a friendly physician who counsels you on the best ways to maintain and improve your health. Our physician(s) meet all these criteria. Plus, you benefit from a dedicated team of trained professionals who give you the individualized attention you deserve.
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