Ankle & Foot Specialist in New Jersey
What are foot and ankle injuries?
Whether you are an athlete or a non-athlete, your feet and ankles are exposed to daily activities that can lead to podiatric injury of the foot and ankle. Injury of the foot and ankle can affect any of the structures relating to the foot and ankle, including bones, ligaments, and tendons. Some common injuries of the foot and ankle include plantar fasciitis, neuromas, fractures, and sprained or strained muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Injury to the foot or ankle can occur when you are walking, engaging in high-impact sports, or if you are involved in a traumatic accident.
What causes foot and ankle injuries?
There are two main types of foot and ankle injuries: sudden injuries and overuse injuries. Sudden injuries are typically caused by an isolated event in which there is direct trauma to the foot or ankle. This can include direct blows to the foot or ankle, trips or falls, and sudden movements that may cause the foot or ankle to move in an unusual way. Sudden injuries may become bruised or show signs of swelling around the affected area, such as the inside, outside, or other areas of the feet or ankles. Sudden injuries may include:
- Sprains — the foot or ankle can become sprained when the ankle or foot twists or lands in an unusual or forced position, causing ligaments to stretch beyond their capacity and tear.
- Strains — the foot or ankle can also become strained when the foot or ankle twists or lands in an unusual or forced position, causing muscles to stretch beyond their capacity.
- Fractures — the foot or ankle can become fractured when there is a break in the bone. Fractures of the foot and ankle can occur when the foot or ankle moves in an unusual way or through direct trauma.
Overuse injuries occur when excessive stress is placed on the foot or ankle, usually during sports or other related physical activities that require repetitive use and overexertion of the same foot and ankle structures. Overuse injuries may include Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, or stress fractures, which are thin cracks in the bone caused by repeating stress.
General causes of foot and ankle injuries may include:
- Tripping or falling
- Placing repeated stress on the foot or ankle
- Improperly landing on your feet
- Walking or running on irregular ground
- Unexpected impact e.g., car crash or other accidents
- Rolling, twisting, or rotating the ankle
What are the symptoms of foot and ankle injuries?
Depending on the type of injury and its severity, symptoms may vary slightly. In general symptoms of foot and ankle injuries may include:
- Sudden, intense pain of the foot or ankle
- Swelling at the site of injury
- Bruising at the site of injury
- Foot or ankle instability
- Feeling unable to place weight on the affected foot
- Being unable to walk
How are foot and ankle injuries diagnosed?
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, or if you believe you have sustained a foot or ankle injury, an evaluation by an experienced doctor can help confirm a diagnosis. A medical evaluation will usually involve a review of your medical history and symptoms, along with a thorough physical examination of the affected foot and ankle. During the physical portion of the exam, your doctor will thoroughly examine the foot and ankle and may observe you as you walk or perform other foot movements. To further analyze and assess the foot and ankle and to confirm a diagnosis, additional testing may be recommended. Additional testing may include X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, or other imaging tests.
How are foot and ankle injuries treated?
Treatment and recovery time for foot and ankle injuries will depend on the severity of the injury, along with the type of injury. Typically, foot and ankle injuries such as sprains, strains, and fractures are treated to bring down swelling, pain, and inflammation. In order to manage pain, your doctor may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin. To help bring down swelling your doctor may recommend the RICE method, which involves:
- Rest and keeping weight off the affected foot
- Ice wrapped in a thin towel that is applied to the site of injury for about 20 minutes each hour
- Compression of the affected area with a wrap or sleeve to bring down swelling
- Elevation to help improve circulation and reduce swelling
In some cases, the sprained, strained, or fractured foot or ankle may require additional treatment, such as a cast, splint, or other brace-like devices to help keep the injured foot or ankle stabilized and promote a quicker recovery time.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a foot or ankle injury or would like to learn more about our available podiatric services and treatment, request an appointment with us today. Our friendly and accommodating staff provides prompt and punctual service and is dedicated to providing high-end, compassionate podiatric care. At Northeastern Foot & Ankle, board-certified podiatrist Dr. Khoury takes the time to carefully listen to and understand your medical and cosmetic concerns, recommending and providing the most appropriate treatment options paired with innovative and emerging technologies to help meet your podiatric needs. Call 973.473.6665 or scroll to the top of the page to request an appointment.