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Common Ankle Injuries and How to Avoid Them

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You don't think about how important your healthy ankles are until you can no longer rely on them. When your ankles sustain an injury, you can't stand or walk without experiencing pain. You have difficulty balancing. Because your ankle is so complex and important, a wrong step that causes a sprain or a break can keep you from walking for the next several months.

Unfortunately, ankle injuries can happen to anyone—old or young, male or female, active or sedentary. You just have to step on an uneven or slippery surface to sustain an injury. If you're prone to ankle injuries, participate in sports, or worry about damaging your ankles, read our blog below. We'll list some common ankle injuries and then tell you how to both prevent and treat them.

Injuries

Your ankle is the meeting point of three bones, which your tendons and ligaments hold together. When you hurt your ankle, you can damage the tendons, ligaments, or bone.   

Tendon Injuries

Your tendons connect your bones to muscle and allow your foot and ankle to move. The most commonly damaged tendons are the peroneal tendons, which attach your peroneal muscles to the outside of your ankle. Some common tendon injuries include:

  • Peroneal Tendon Subluxation: If you sprain your ankle by rolling your foot inwards, your peroneal tendons can pop out of place.
  • Tearing: Your tendons can rip if they experience a sudden blow or impact—for instance, in a car crash or fall.
  • Tendinitis: If you overuse your ankle or put too much strain on it, your tendons accumulate tiny tears. When these tears don't heal correctly, your tendon becomes inflamed.

Ligament Injuries

While tendons connect bones to muscle, ligaments connect bone to bone. Your ligaments hold these bones in place while your ankle, foot, and leg move. A sprain is the most common type of ligament injury.

A sprain usually occurs when your foot twists beneath your leg or ankle. This twist can happen while you play sports or if you slip while walking or running. Symptoms include bruising and swelling. In a severe sprain, you won't be able to put pressure on your foot. After you severely sprain your ankle, you're more prone to spraining it in the future.

Bone Injuries

Your ankle or foot can break in a fall, car crash, or jump or from something heavy falling on top of your ankle. You can also break or fracture your ankle simply by putting too much stress on it, such as by frequently running long distances.

It's easy to confuse a sprain with a fracture or break. You should see a doctor to get a correct diagnosis. Your symptoms can include:

  • Tenderness and pain
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Difficulty walking and placing weight on the foot
  • Difficulty wearing shoes

Treatment depends on the break's severity, but it can include wearing a cast and undergoing surgery to stabilize the bone.

Prevention

You can minimize your risk of ankle injury by taking these precautions:

  • Wear shoes that fit well and aren't too large or too small.
  • Wear the right shoes for your environment (for instance, don't wear flip flops to hike).
  • Strengthen your bones by increasing your calcium intake.
  • Instead of participating in one sport, cross-train to build strength.
  • Avoid falls by keeping clutter off your floor and turning on lights before you walk around at night.

Treatment

If you experience an ankle injury in spite of your best precautions, visit a doctor immediately. Depending on your injury's severity, he or she might recommend you keep weight off your ankle while it heals with a knee scooter. Along with using your knee scooter, make sure you take these steps:

  • Let your ankle rest. Don't run the risk of causing further damage by stressing your ankle or putting any weight on it.
  • Use ice, compression, and elevation immediately after the injury and as recommended by a doctor.
  • Wear your cast or brace for as long as your doctor recommends.
  • If necessary, attend physical therapy at your doctor's request to regain your normal ankle function and mobility.

Now that you know more about ankle injuries, you can prevent them in the future. If you've already experienced an injury, don't worry—with your doctor and knee scooter's help, your ankle will hopefully return to normal soon. 

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