Suffering from an Ankle Injury? You’re Not Alone
Often, people associate ankle injuries with sports. And it’s true; many athletes are at risk given the intense nature of sports, such as soccer, basketball, track, and football. But non-athletes are vulnerable as well. Any time the ankle is twisted in a way that puts it out of its natural positioning and alignment, we can feel the pain. Common causes include falling, tripping, walking or running on uneven surfaces, sudden impacts (e.g. car accidents), and twisting or rolling (e.g. as is likely to occur on a hiking trail).
You may suffer a:
- Sprain: the ligaments are stretched too far. It may also cause microtears or tears.
- Strain: the muscles and tendons are stretched beyond the ankle’s typical range of motion. These are often the result of a trauma or sudden impact.
- Fracture: the bone is broken, making this a severe, and painful, injury.
- Dislocation: one or more of the bones in the ankle joint are separated.
Signs of an ankle injury include swelling, bruising, tenderness, pain, and the inability to put weight on the foot. Because fractures and dislocations can be confused with more simple strains or sprains, it is important to get your ankle checked out if you experience these symptoms, especially if they last longer than a few days or are severe in nature.
Ankle braces are designed to provide support after an injury and to prevent the injury from worsening. It is also becoming common for folks (especially athletes) to wear ankle braces in the hopes of preventing an injury in the first place. In fact, research indicates that they can lower the incidence of acute ankle injuries - but they do not lower the severity. In other words, they may keep you from getting hurt, but if you do, braces won’t make it any less serious.
How Do Ankle Braces Work?
Ankle braces give you external support that limits certain movements that can worsen injuries or cause pain. For example, they can prevent you from moving your foot in a downward and inward position.
When you have an ankle injury, it is essential that you give it enough time to heal. Many people feel a bit better and then resume normal activities. This puts them at risk for more pain and, potentially, a much worse injury. Braces can play an important role in the healing and rehabilitation process. That said, they are not a cure for pain or guarantee against future injury.
This is why it is critical that you speak to your doctor after an injury. He or she can recommend a brace that will work for your needs, as well as give you the information you need to use it properly. Your physician can also refer you, if necessary, to a physical therapist and/or recommend specialized exercises that will improve balance, range of motion, endurance, and strength.
When should you speak to your doctor about an ankle brace? Now. If your doctor feels that you would not benefit from a brace, then you can move forward. If you will, then… you can move forward! Either way, you will have a better idea of your next steps and what to expect as your ankle heals.
If you have questions about ankle braces, do not hesitate to get in touch with the Orthopedic Appliance Company team today.