by Dr. Christopher Milkie
We see many athletes here at Milwaukee foot specialists and though anything can happen in sports, many sports have their related injuries. In sports that contain a majority of side to side motion on a hard surface, ankle injuries are very common. These sports, such as basketball and tennis, require the foot to plant on the ground and allow the body to pivot and change directions. As a youth basketball coach and podatrist, I have experience both traning these athletes and treating these injuries. Even the smallest misstep or awkward landing can cause a variety of ankle problems. Ankle Sprains can often occur when landing a jump from a shot in basketball, and in kids this can lead to serious injuries in the growth plates of the foot.
If you recently twisted your ankle and you are seeing no improvements, it may be time to make an appointment. Though many ankle injuries will heal with the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation), for some injuries, that may not be enough. Not every ankle injury is the same and even a twist in the same exact direction in two individuals may result in two completely different injuries. These injuries can range in severity to a soft tissue and ligament strain, to broken bones. It is important to think about all of the bones and muscles that work together to make the ankle joint possible, all of which can be affected by different types of ankle trauma. An ankle twisted in a specific way can even cause the bones in your leg (the tibia and fibula) to fracture at any location along the bone.
If you are coming in for an appointment about your ankle injury here are some things to consider to help your doctor figure out what may be going on with your ankle. What were you doing when you hurt your ankle, how did you fall and how did it twist? Where exactly does it hurt and can you point to it with one finger? Does it hurt more with any activity? How long has the injury been bothering you? All of these are quick questions that you can have answers prepared to so that you may help your doctor start you on the path to a correct diagnosis and recovery. Depending on what the doctor suspects you may be required to get x-rays and maybe even an MRI depending.
Overall ankle injuries should not be written off. Though simpler injuries may resolve on their own, some injuries can be overlooked and, if left untreated, lead to severe long term complications.