Ankle injuries are common during physical activities such as sports and exercise. The ankle joint is a complex structure that supports your body’s weight and facilitates movement in multiple directions. However, it is also susceptible to injuries such as sprains, strains, and fractures. Ankle injuries can cause pain, swelling, and instability, making it difficult to engage in physical activities. Stephen Fisher, MD, may recommend preventative measures such as warming up properly and wearing appropriate footwear to reduce your risk of ankle injuries during physical activity. Your treatment plan may include the following:
Physical therapy can help to reduce pain and inflammation, improve your range of motion, and restore strength and function to your ankle joint. Your physical therapist will typically begin by assessing the extent of your injury and creating a personalized treatment plan, which may involve exercises to improve balance and stability, and stretches to improve flexibility and mobility. As you progress, your therapist may incorporate heat, ice, or electrical stimulation to help reduce pain and swelling. Regular sessions can promote a full recovery, enabling you to return to your daily activities. Additionally, physical therapy can help to prevent future injuries by improving overall strength and balance in your lower body.
Steroid injections involve administering a corticosteroid, a type of medication that helps reduce inflammation and swelling in the affected area. Dr. Fisher injects the corticosteroid directly into your ankle joint or surrounding tissue, targeting the source of the pain and inflammation. These injections can treat ankle sprains, arthritis, and tendinitis. However, they are not without risks and potential side effects. Some possible side effects of steroid injections include infection, nerve damage, and thinning of your skin or soft tissue at the injection site.
Bracing and orthotics
Bracing involves using external support to protect your injured ankle and promote healing. These braces are typically made of a combination of materials, such as neoprene and nylon, to provide both comfort and durability. Orthotics, on the other hand, are custom-made shoe inserts designed to correct the alignment of your foot and ankle. They can treat various ankle injuries, including sprains, strains, and fractures. Orthotics can help reduce pain and swelling by supporting the arch of your foot and promoting proper alignment of your ankle.
Immobilization with a cast or splint
The primary goal of immobilization is to prevent further damage to the injured area by limiting movement and providing support. The cast or splint is made of a hard, durable material that encases your ankle and foot, providing stability and protection to the ankle. You may need to wear the immobilization device for several weeks, depending on the severity of your injury and the healing rate. After your provider removes the immobilization device, they may recommend physical therapy to help restore strength, flexibility, and range of motion to your ankle.
Anti-inflammatory medications reduce inflammation in the affected area, which helps to relieve pain and swelling. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) block the production of the chemicals that cause inflammation and pain. You can also apply topical anti-inflammatory medications, such as creams and gels, directly to your ankle for localized pain relief.