Ankle Injuries: When Is It Time to See a Podiatrist?

About 23,000 people in the United States sprain their ankles badly enough every day that they need to see a doctor. That fairly astounding figure doesn’t account for all of the other types of ankle injuries you can suffer.

Our expert team of podiatrists diagnoses and treats ankle injuries at Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey Podiatry Center in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. If you hurt your ankle, answer the following questions to determine if it’s time to see a podiatrist.

Does your foot look deformed or broken?

Yes

If your foot looks strange or is twisted in an unusual direction, or if bone protrudes through skin, you probably broke one or more of the bones in your ankle joint. Call our team to set up an emergency visit, or go straight to the nearest hospital emergency room. 

No

Continue to the next question.

Can you put weight on your foot?

Yes

If you can comfortably step on your foot or only feel slight discomfort, continue reading the other questions.

No

If it hurts when you try to step on the foot with the injured ankle, you may have severely sprained, strained, or even fractured your ankle. Be sure to have someone help you to a car or safe spot and then call our team right away.

He diagnoses your ankle injury with on-site X-rays and other diagnostic techniques so that you get the treatment you need.

Is your foot badly swollen or bruised?

Yes

Severe sprains, strains, and fractures can cause your foot to swell or turn blue. See us or visit an ER immediately.

No

Go to the next question.

Does your ankle hurt when you touch it?

Yes

The ligaments that get sprained most often are on the outside of your ankle. Try touching that area. If it hurts, you may have sprained your ankle. Continue to the next questions.

No

Continue to the next questions.

Does your ankle buckle when you step on that foot?

Yes

If your ankle can’t support the weight of your body, you may have completely torn your ligaments or dislocated your ankle bones. Contact our team.

No

If you can use your ankle, it’s not swollen or bruised, and you don’t feel anything more than mild pain, institute the RICE protocol:

If your ankle feels better by the next day, you may not need to visit us. If your ankle doesn’t improve within 72 hours, or if your pain or swelling gets worse, contact your podiatrist immediately. 

Why injured ankles need treatment

Although ankle injuries are common, they can still be serious. Even if you only suffered a mild sprain this time, if you don’t receive proper treatment and physical therapy to build up strength in the ankle, you’re at increased risk for a future sprain.

Ankle injuries can also damage surrounding soft tissues and nerves. The injury may have disrupted the integrity of the cartilage that protects your ankle bones, which could lead to arthritis at a later date. 

By getting your ankle evaluated as soon as possible after an injury, you get a definitive answer about whether your injury is mild or serious, and also get the right treatment to help you heal quickly and well. Taking care of your ankle now protects it in the future.

If you suspect you have a fractured or sprained ankle or if you’re experiencing ankle pain, call us at Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey Podiatry Center right away.

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