Foot & Ankle Injuries
There are many different types of toe, foot, and ankle trauma that we treat. We have computerized x-ray equipment on site to help evaluate these. We also frequently have same day appointments available. Save yourself a huge ER bill and come see us instead for a fraction of the price. Types of injuries that occur include:
- Fracture is the medical term for a broken bone. Most commonly these occur to toes, metatarsals, or ankles, but can happen to any bone.
- A sprain is a torn ligament. Ankle sprains are by far the most common injury and about 2 million Americans suffer from these per year!
- A contusion is bruising of soft tissues or bones. If a collection of blood forms in the soft tissues it is called a hematoma.
- Torn tendons. Torn or ruptured tendons, most commonly the Achilles, peroneal, or posterior tibial tendons.
- Tendonitis or tendinitis. Inflammation and pain around tendons are a common problem.
Causes of Foot & Ankle Injuries
- Fractures can occur for many reasons which may include motor vehicle accidents, falling from a height or off a ladder, twisting the foot or ankle in an unusual direction, sports injuries, or stubbing that pinky toe in the middle of the night on the dresser. A special type of fracture called a stress fracture frequently occurs in long distance runners or people with weaker bones from osteoporosis or osteopenia.
- Ankle sprains usually happen by rolling the ankle inward from stepping on an uneven surface.
- Contusions are usually from striking the foot against something hard or dropping a heavy object on top of the foot.
- Torn tendons can happen acutely during running or jumping, but may also happen slowly over time from chronic tendonitis that weakens the tendon fibers.
- Tendonitis is frequently seen as an overuse injury in athlete’s, but can occur for unknown reasons as well.
Symptoms of Foot & Ankle Injury
- Bruising (called ecchymosis) is seen with most acute injuries such as fractures, sprains, and contusions. Sometimes it takes several days for the bruising to occur and a week or longer for it to resolve. It often migrates to uninjured areas as the healing process progresses.
- Swelling (called edema) is usually seen to a varying extent depending on the type of injury. Tendonitis may have very subtle, barely noticeable swelling.
- Pain usually occurs to varying degrees. There is a common misconception that if a person has broken their foot or ankle that they can’t walk on it. This is not true. This completely depends on the person’s pain tolerance and nature of the fracture. We have seen individuals walk on multiple broken bones for days or weeks before seeking attention.
- Difficulty walking, limping, or complete inability to bear weight may occur.
- Open cuts in the skin (called laceration) may indicate an open compound fracture and require urgent attention.
- Feeling or hearing an audible “popping” sound at the time of injury can indicate a ruptured tendon or broken bone.
Treatment of Toe, Foot, & Ankle Injuries
X-rays will often be done to evaluate for bone injury versus soft tissue injury. Sometimes more advanced imaging such as an MRI or CT scan may be ordered if x-rays are inconclusive. Your podiatrist will then tailor a specific treatment plan depending on the type of injury you have. Standard R.I.C.E. therapy is usually helpful for most injuries. This includes:
- Rest the injured extremity.
- Ice will help reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain. Application of an ice pack 20 minutes every 1-2 hours will help in the beginning.
- Compression with an elastic ACE wrap or compression sock can be helpful. These can be purchased at most pharmacies or medical supply companies.
- Elevation of the extremity above the level of the heart will help lessen swelling and pain.
- Pain medication if needed such as NSAID’s, Tylenol, or prescription narcotics for more severe injuries.
- Topical arnica gel or Voltaren gel may help lessen pain as well.
- Immobilization of the injured limb is usually helpful. This may consist of a surgical shoe for toe fractures, a splint, an ankle brace, a medical grade CAM boot, or even a cast.
- Non-weight bearing is needed for some types of injuries while healing occurs. Buy or rent crutches, a walker, or wheelchair. For those that struggle with crutches, a leg caddy (aka knee scooter) can be very convenient and allow for increased mobility. We recommend www.KneeScootersForCollege.com.
- Fortunately, many injuries will heal with the above conservative measures although it may take several months.
- Surgery may be needed in some instances if a major tendon is torn, if an ankle sprain is severe leading to chronic ankle instability, or if the fractured bone fragments are significantly separated. This is called a displaced fracture and may need open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) with some type of implanted hardware to hold the bones in place while they heal.
If you have suffered a toe, foot, or ankle injury please call to set up an appointment with Dr. Davis for evaluation. We can often get you seen quickly and help you avoid a costly ER visit.
What are ankle sprains?
An ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments in the ankle. Your ligaments are connective fibers that hold your bones in place. Ligaments are flexible to allow movement, but if you over-stretch or abruptly twist them, they can tear. The tears cause the ‘sprain’ and typically are categorized into three increasing grades of severity.
- Grade I sprains are ligaments which are overstretched, but not torn.
- Grade II sprains involve partial tears to the ligament.
- Grade III sprains are when a ligament is completely torn or detached.
If you have a mild sprain, you may not even know the extent of your injury and try to walk through the pain. However, avoiding treatment can put you at risk, allowing the injury to worsen and need more invasive treatment in the future.
If you have questions or concerns about your foot or ankle pain we invite you to contact our Colorado Springs office for an appointment.
To schedule an appointment call: 719-533-0200
Helping Patients with Ankle Sprains | Colorado Springs | Podiatrist
Sprained Ankle and Foot Injury Specialist
Judd Davis, DPM with A New Step Foot & Ankle Clinics is a compassionate podiatrist (foot and ankle doctor) who helps patients with surgical and non-surgical treatment of sprained ankle and foot injuries and other foot problems. A New Step Foot & Ankle Clinics is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.