That Sprained Ankle May Be Worse Than You Think

Sprained ankles are an injury that you shouldn’t ignore.  Take the case of a guy who is a marketing professional by day, very amateur hockey player in the evening. He thought he had sprained his ankle in a game. He iced and elevated it. Then he went on about his usual business, just immobilizing it himself and using old crutches he had lying around. When after a month of consistent pain he finally had it evaluated, he discovered it hadn’t been improving faster because it was, in fact, broken!


The ankle is one of the more complex joints in the human body. Three bones form it: the tibia; the fibula; and the talus.  There are two major ligaments – the medial and the lateral – that branch into seven other smaller ligaments. This all together is known as the ankle ring.

A sprain involves either the stretching or tearing of these ligaments by the action of the foot “rolling” to the inside or the outside.  It results in a huge amount of swelling and subsequent bruising as blood moves to the area in the healing process. The degree of the sprain dictates the treatment of it.  Most of the time, immobilization, elevation, ice, and rest are sufficient for recovery after an evaluation.


You always want to get an evaluation, because on some occasions what you might think is just a sprain actually is a broken bone.


The fibula bears just 10 percent of a person’s weight and is difficult to determine the degree of injury without an x-ray.  An MRI or ultrasound might also be necessary. An x-ray will only tell you if a bone is broken, but an MRI or ultrasound will tell you about the soft tissue damage that may have occurred.


The ligaments, if torn with sufficient force, can pull away from the bone.  They can sometimes pull pieces of bone off along with them.


Podiatry Associates, P.C., founded by Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM, will administer a full evaluation, applying the protocols from her two decades of experience and top-of-field expertise in podiatry, and then determine what is best for you, personally, to heal and get back to the activities you love to do.


Ankle injuries are likely to reoccur if not taken care of the first time.  It also takes patience and diligent care to heal.  The best way to take care of a sprained ankle is to get it checked out as soon as it occurs.  Again, you never know what may be going on in there.


If left untreated, ankle injuries can lead to complications that significantly increase recovery times.  This could lead to chronic pain, loss of mobility, arthritis, and may lead to later problems with your stride, your back, and your general health and well being.  This is a situation where it is always better to be safe than sorry.


If you’ve recently sustained an ankle injury, please make an appointment at Podiatry Associates promptly. If you are active in sports, consider carrying our contact information in your gym or equipment bag. Whether you feel a sharp pain as the result of an incident in racquetball, your morning run or the local ice hockey league, it’s wise to get it checked out as soon as possible by the experts in podiatry.


We have foot and ankle clinics in Aurora, Castle Pines, Cherry Creek and Parker. To learn more about what we do, as well as a list of insurance companies we accept in addition to Medicaid, Medicare and Tri-Care, please click here.

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