Foot and Ankle Sprains
The basics of foot and ankle sprains
Foot and ankle sprains are among the most common sports injuries evaluated by our Cypress orthopedist. A sprain is an injury to a ligament, which is a band of soft tissue that connects one bone to another.
While many people consider sprains minor injuries, without proper evaluation and treatment, they can develop into more serious, chronic problems. Additionally, a number of more serious conditions can mimic ankle sprains. For these reasons, a rolled ankle should not be taken lightly if symptoms fail to quickly resolve.
Our Cypress orthopedist knows that athletes and non-athletes alike have likely turned or rolled their ankle at some point, which can result in foot and ankle sprains. With an ankle sprain, one or more ankle ligaments is at least partially torn. The most commonly injured ligament in an ankle sprain is the anterior talofibular ligament, or ATFL. This ligament is located on the front, outside area of the ankle, although ankle sprains may cause pain throughout the ankle.
Ligaments have very poor blood supplies, so they don’t heal, but rather scar in place. For this reason, it is important to immobilize the ankle for a period of time to allow the scar tissue to form in the proper position. In adults, this typically involves immobilizing the ankle in a boot while children are often placed into walking casts until the pain and instability improves.
In addition to tearing ligaments, ankle sprains can result in weakness of the peroneal tendons. These are two tendons that run along the outside of the ankle and help to stabilize it. While immobilization may help to improve clinical instability, which is laxity to the ankle apparent to a healthcare provider in a clinical setting, it does not improve functional stability.
Functional instability occurs when patients feel as though their ankle is going to give out, despite ligamentous stability on exam in the clinic. This usually occurs due to peroneal tendon weakness and requires physical therapy to resolve. Upon discontinuing use of a boot or a cast, our Cypress orthopedist often places patients in an ankle brace and gives them a prescription for physical therapy prior to recommending that they return to full activity.
Just as with ankle sprains, foot sprains involve at least a partial tear of the ligament connecting one bone of the foot to another. These sprains typically occur along the outside border of the foot and treatment is similar to that of an ankle sprain. Foot sprains may take longer to resolve and are more likely to require immobilization in a cast rather than a boot.
Injuries related to foot and ankle sprains
Many injuries may result from a twisting injury to the ankle that can be misdiagnosed as foot and ankle sprains. Some of these injuries require significantly different treatment plans than straightforward sprains and require evaluation by our Cypress orthopedist.
- Syndesmotic injuries are also known as high ankle sprains. This injury causes significant ankle instability and warrants more aggressive treatment than a typical ankle sprain.
- Talus fractures involve the talus bone that is part of the ankle. Fractures to this bone may mimic an ankle sprain. These injuries are often missed and frequently require surgery.
- Peroneal tendon dislocations occur with severe sprains. Without early recognition, this injury is much more likely to require surgical intervention.
Contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Stacy Bacon, our Cypress orthopedist, to receive diagnosis and treatment for foot and ankle sprains.
- Stress fractures
- Achilles ruptures
- Achilles tears
- Ankle sprains
- Ligament and Tendon issues
- Overuse injuries