Common Foot / Ankle Injuries – Part 2

If you missed Part 1 we covered some of the common overuse injuries that we tend to see in the foot / ankle region such as Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendinopathy. You can still read it HERE.

What about the more acute injuries?

Ankle sprains, calf tears, Achilles ruptures, fractured toes.

These injuries usually happen in one traumatic incident. You trip off the kerb and go over on your ankle, it hurts immediately. It may swell and become bruised, you may find it hard to bear weight on it, and you will probably yell a few profanities at the time.

These acute injuries benefit significantly from treatment ASAP. The first 48 hours of management are really important to control swelling, inflammation and reduce pain.

ANKLE SPRAIN: The most common ankle sprain is an inversion sprain. When you are walking along and step awkwardly in a pothole usually your foot is forced inwards and your ankle rolls outwards. This damages the ligaments on the outside (lateral) side of the ankle. There are three lateral ligaments and depending on the severity of the sprain one or multiple can be damaged. If you roll your ankle in the opposite direction (outwards) you can damage the medial ligament on the inside of the ankle. This is a less common presentation. Even rarer is a ‘high ankle sprain’ which is an injury to the syndesmosis. The mechanism, area of pain and clinical presentation is slightly different. Ankle sprains tend to swell almost immediately, and can be very painful. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis from a physio to ensure proper treatment and rehabilitation.

CALF TEARS: The ‘calf’ is made up of two muscles, the gastrocnemius and the soleus. They blend together to form the Achilles Tendon, that thick band inserting into the back of your heel. Our calves work pretty hard to propel us forward and upwards, so we need them for walking, jumping, running. A sudden burst of acceleration can result in a calf tear. The pain is sudden and acute, there may be apprehension to bear weight and patients can normally localise the site of the injury. Calf tears can range from a minor strain to a severe tear. Your physio can determine this from functional tests and degree of disability.

ACHILLES TEAR: The Achilles is one of the strongest tendons in the body. Sudden forceful contraction of the calf can result in tearing or in worse cases a rupture of this tendon. There is often an audible pop accompanied by sudden pain. A complete rupture of the Achilles tendon needs surgical repair while smaller tears or partial ruptures can be managed conservatively usually with a period of immobilisation follow by progressive rehabilitation.

BROKEN TOE: Toe fractures can come from the smallest of events, like when you stub your little toe really badly (isn’t that one of the worst feelings ever?). They can be a little more traumatic such as dropping a heavy object onto your toe, or if they get caught awkwardly under your weight. The treatment of a fractured toe depends on the size, position and toe in question. Small stable fractures generally just need time to help, while larger fractures that may extend into the toe joints or that result in a deformity may need to be immobilised, splinted or worst case required surgery.

There are obviously a bunch of other injuries that can occur in the foot and ankle. If you have hurt yourself and are in pain it’s always best to get it checked out by a physio or medical practitioner.

Active RX are always happy to help!!!

Contacts us HERE