Foot and Ankle injuries are a common occurrence in all age groups and their severity will vary significantly depending on the mechanism of the injury. As we move out of the COVID-19 lockdown period many of us are increasing the amount of activity we do. Our clinics have been busy recently with sports injuries in those who have recently increased their activity levels. One of the commonest is a twisted ankle, also know as an ankle sprain.
In this, the first post in a series of Foot and Ankle topics, expert Foot and Ankle Surgeon Mr Tim Sinnett explains how to manage your injury and highlights the possible treatments required.
I have just twisted my ankle! What should I do?
Ankle injuries can occur during many activities ranging from slipping off a curb to nasty tackles in football. Prompt and appropriate management of the injury can often significantly improve your outcome. If you are able to continue walking then it is unlikely that you have a significant injury but continued self-assessment is important. Elevate the foot as quickly as you can and apply ice to the painful area. A bag of peas from the freezer is perfect as it will conform to the shape of your ankle. Wrap the bag in a tea towel first to avoid ‘ice burns’.
This initial first aid will reduce the degree of swelling that occurs and often it is the swelling that causes the majority of pain. Application of a form of bandage or brace will also give support and reduce further swelling. Limiting the amount of walking that you do for a short period of time will also allow the injury to settle.
What should I do if I am unable to walk?
Inability to bear weight through the foot and ankle can a sign that you have a significant injury. It is best to seek urgent medical advice through an Urgent Care Centre, Accident and Emergency Department or booking directly with a Foot and Ankle Specialist. Expert examination is key in diagnosing your injury and various imaging techniques including X-rays, Ultrasound, CT or MRI scans may be required.
Will I need an operation?
The vast majority of Foot and Ankle injuries will not require surgery and most will simply improve in a short space of time with simple rest and recuperation. If you are unlucky enough to have suffered a severe injury, your specialist will discuss all possible treatment options with you. It is important to remember that not all fractures (broken bones) or soft tissue injuries need surgery. If the fracture or soft tissue injury does not compromise the stability or function of the foot or ankle, then a non- surgical course of management with a good physiotherapist is likely to be the best treatment option.
If surgery is indicated, your specialist will explain all of the risks, benefits and likely post-operative requirements before the day of surgery.
If you have any questions about ankle injuries, please contact our team to arrange an initial consultation.