Whether you have fallen over and twisted your ankle or landed awkwardly on your foot whilst playing your favourite sport, an ankle injury might leave you swollen or bruised. Do you know what to do in the event of hurting your ankle? One of our top London orthopaedic surgeons Mr Thomas Hester shares his expert knowledge on how to tell whether your ankle injury is serious and what you should do the moment it happens.
How do you know if an ankle injury is serious?
You have injured your ankle and can’t put your weight on it. It hurts and it’s tender to the touch, bruised, and swollen. It could be a sprain, or it might be broken. All of these can cause serious pain and will take time to recover. However, there are some more serious ankle injuries and these tend to be the more “high energy” ones.What does high energy mean? It’s the force that goes through the ankle when the injury happens. Falling off a motorbike, for example, is a higher amount of energy than if you roll your ankle by stepping off the curb.If there is any deformity, such as the ankle not being in its normal shape when compared to your other ankle and you have pain over the bony parts, this would likely be more serious.
What types of activities commonly lead to serious ankle injuries?
Any activity where you can roll your ankle can result in serious injury. This can be carrying the laundry and stepping awkwardly off the last step, or a higher energy injury whilst skiing.
What are the most common types of ankle injuries?
By far and away the most common ankle injuries are the isolated lateral ligament injuries. These are some of the tissues on the side of the ankle that connect the little thin bone of your ankle (the fibula) to the talus and the calcaneus. These are called the anterior talofibular ligament and the calcaneofibular ligament.Often these are just stretched and are referred to as a sprain. They do well if you immediately follow the acronym “RICE”, which stands for:
The more serious ankle injuries are the complete tears of the ligaments, or fractures of the bones, both on the inside and outside of the ankle and the bone that is in the socket or mortice, called the talus.
What type of ankle injuries require medical attention?
Whilst most ankle injuries do not need medical attention, in cases where you have difficulty weight-bearing after, or there is pain on the bone or deformity of the ankle, it is best to seek further help.If you are diabetic, you need to be particularly careful after ankle injuries, especially if your sugars are poorly controlled. I would encourage you to seek medical attention early.
When should you go to A&E?
If your ankle is deformed then it is best to go to A&E. If you are struggling and things just aren’t improving then I would also encourage you to seek further attention.