Only the short sighted individual will regard an ankle injury as being only sports related. It is possible to sustain an ankle injury simply by stepping from concrete onto grass, or stepping down off a curb. You don’t have to be participating in a sports activity to be the unfortunate recipient of a sprain, strain or fracture.
Sprains are injuries that occur to the ligaments in the ankle joint when the ankle is twisted or bent beyond its normal range. Strains are similar to sprains in that they are tissue damage related, but a strain occurs to the tendon. Fractures are cracks or breaks in the bones. All ankle injuries should be treated by a doctor because a fracture can easily be disguised in the pain of a sprain. If an ankle fractures and left untreated, it can become a much more serious injury and result in a lengthier healing time.
Symptoms are similar and make it difficult for the average person to distinguish sprain from fracture:
- Immediate and often intense pain
- Inability to bear weight on the affected joint
Other signs of a fracture may be tender to the touch or the ankle may look out of place.
There are different types of fractures. Stress fractures appear as small cracks in the bones, and a simple fracture refers to one break in the bone. There is also a comminuted fracture, which means two or more breaks in the bone resulting in three or more bone fragments. Different types of fractures call for different treatment methods, which will ensure the bones knit properly and are in correct alignment.
Fractures may be treated non-surgically or surgically and depends on your individual case. If the fracture is non-displaced and only involves one bone, Dr. Vargas may treat it by immobilizing the joint using a brace or cast. In more serious injuries, he may have to stabilize the bones by surgically fixing a metal plate and screws into the bone in order to hold things in place. Following surgical repair, Dr. Vargas will place a splint on the ankle until swelling goes down enough to allow for a cast.
Normal healing time for a fracture is about six weeks, after which time you may need to begin a routine of physical therapy in order to regain strength and range of motion. Always listen to Dr. Vargas and trust his judgment. He is aware that you are anxious to get back on your feet and resume normal activities, but he also understands the dangers of trying to hurry the recovery and healing process. For any foot or ankle injury, call Dr. Vargas at (281) 313-0090 or (281) 342-8700.