When an Ankle Injury Requires Medical Intervention

Ankle injuries are extremely common with 25,000 people spraining their ankle daily. But sprains aren’t the only injuries that happen to this joint. Fractures and acute tendonitis are also possible.

Sometimes it’s hard to know whether you should seek medical help for an ankle injury. After all, you can rest the joint and take over-the-counter pain medications to ease your pain. But if you have a sprain, fracture, or chronic tendonitis and don’t get proper medical support for recovery, you may delay your healing and you’re at risk for long-term ankle instability. 

At Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute we want to see you for your ankle injury to rule out anything serious. It’s especially important to see us if you have any of the following issues: a fracture, a sprain, or tendonitis. 

Ankle anatomy

Your ankle is a joint where three major bones meet: your two lower leg bones (tibia and fibula) and the talus of your foot. Ligaments hold these bones together, and tendons attach the muscles to the bones so your ankle moves.

If you have a fracture, one or more of your bones may be broken. A sprained ankle describes an injury to the ligaments. These sprains can be mild with micro-tears in the fibers or severe with a partial or full tear. Tendons may also be damaged or ruptured, oftentimes with overuse or trauma. This leads to inflammation -- or tendonitis. 

Why see a doctor

Symptoms of a sprain and a fracture are quite alike. People can mistake their fracture for a sprain, which delays proper diagnosis, treatment, and healing. Pain from a sprain may be mild and accompanied by stiffness, while a fracture feels tender to the touch and the joint looks out of place. Still, a sprain can be extremely painful, especially if it’s a serious one that involves a partial or full tear.

People with sudden and severe pain, swelling, and bruising at the time of the injury should head to our office.

If your injured ankle is especially cranky and hurts when you put weight on it, it’s a good idea to consult our office. Even when your injury seems to be a minor sprain and you opt to ice it and rest at home, if the injury doesn’t improve with time, you need to visit Dr. King to make sure you’re on the right path to healing.

Other indications that your ankle needs our help include weakness and prolonged pain.

Tendonitis also deserves care from Dr. King. It’s not an acute injury, like a sprain or fracture, but causes pain, dysfunction, and inflammation. The ankle may be swollen and warm to the touch. Tendonitis develops over months or even years.

Delaying treatment or doing too much too soon can result in re-injury of your ankle, chronic instability, or longer healing time. At Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute in Northport, Alabama, Dr. King can help your ankle heal properly, whether you have a minor sprain, chronic tendonitis, or a complex fracture. Call the office or schedule your appointment online to have your ankle injury examined. 

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