Ankle and Foot Doctors
Much like hand and wrist injuries, ankle and foot injuries occur regularly, both on the sports field and off of it. Turf toe, Achilles tendon ruptures (tears), sprains, and fractures are some of the most frequent foot and ankle injuries. Although the Achilles tendon can withstand immense stress, it is still vulnerable to injury. A rupture is when the muscle fibers tear and separate, rendering it unable to perform its regular function. The most common cause of foot injuries such as fractures include falls or crush injuries (falls from heavy objects onto foot or automobile accidents) If it is painful to put your full weight on your foot and walk around normally, you may have sustained some type of ankle or foot injury. Your doctor may perform an X-ray or an MRI in order to determine the nature of the injury. Treatment may include orthotics, casts, medication, physical therapy, or surgery.
The term turf toe refers to an injury of any soft tissue structure in the plantar complex, such as the plantar plate or a collateral ligament. These injuries can vary in severity — from stretching of the soft tissue to partial tearing, and even total dislocation of the MTP joint. Turf Toe is common in sports medicine and is caused when the front of the foot is fixed to the ground while the heel is raised, and the force from pushing off hyperextends the big toe.
To help plan treatment for turf toe, doctors grade the injuries from 1 to 3 — mild to severe.
- Grade 1. The plantar complex has been stretched, causing pinpoint tenderness and slight swelling.
- Grade 2. A partial tearing of the plantar complex causes more widespread tenderness, moderate swelling, and bruising. Movement of the toe is limited and painful.
- Grade 3. The plantar complex is completely torn, causing severe tenderness, severe swelling, and bruising. It is difficult and painful to move the big toe.
The RICE method is effective for grade 1 Turf Toe injuries
- Rest. Take a break from the activity that caused the injury and avoid walking or putting weight on your foot.
- Ice. Use cold packs for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
- Compression. To help prevent additional swelling, wear an elastic compression bandage.
- Elevation. To reduce swelling, recline when you rest, and prop your leg up so it is higher than your heart.
Anti inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can help to provide some symptom relief. Pain with a grade 1 sprain is usually tolerable and the athlete can continue to play with a stiff-soled shoe.
In order to keep the joint immobilized the patient may need to wear a walking boot for at least a week. After the walking boot is removed the patient will need to manage the injury with a taping regiment and treatments for the grade 1 Turf Toe.
Grade 3 Turf Toe is typically treated by immobilizing the joint while keeping the toe pointed down for several weeks. As the injury improves treatment will be stepped down to grade 2 and grade 1. Physical therapy should begin as soon as symptoms allow. Early joint movement is essential for reducing stiffness in the joint.
Sprained ankle is a common injury in sports medicine and can be caused when the foot is twisted unexpectedly during a large variety of activities. A sprained ankle is usually painful and has symptoms such as swelling, bruising, tenderness, and in more severe cases it may cause the ankle to be unstable.
Almost all ankle sprains can be treated without surgery. Even a complete ligament tear can heal without surgical repair if it is immobilized appropriately. A three-phase program guides treatment for all ankle sprains—from mild to severe:
- Phase 1 includes resting, protecting the ankle and reducing the swelling.
- Phase 2 includes restoring range of motion, strength and flexibility.
- Phase 3 includes maintenance exercises and the gradual return to activities that do not require turning or twisting the ankle. This will be followed later by being able to do activities that require sharp, sudden turns (cutting activities)—such as tennis, basketball, or football.
This three-phase treatment program may take just 2 weeks to complete for minor sprains, or up to 6 to 12 weeks for more severe injuries. The RICE method along with anti inflammatory medication are also effective at home treatments