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Treating Foot and Ankle Trauma

November 27, 2021

a foot cast

Foot and ankle trauma are extremely common. According to the Journal of Athletic Training, around 23,000 people in the United State injure their ankles each day. Depending on the severity of the injury, foot and ankle trauma can result in chronic pain, limited mobility, and reliance on assistive devices, such as canes, crutches, and walkers.

At Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin, our doctors offer a number of treatments for foot and ankle trauma. These treatments range from non-invasive to surgical techniques. We tailor each treatment to meet our Austin, TX, patients' unique needs, so that they can once again walk and exercise with comfort and ease.

Types of Foot and Ankle Trauma

The foot and ankle are complex structures. They are made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The foot and ankle work together to support the body, promote good balance, and allow for mobility, so if any of those bones, joints, muscles, tendons, or ligaments become injured, it can have a huge impact on a person's basic physical functions.

Foot and ankle injuries can occur as a result of a trip or fall, a sports injury, an automobile accident, aging, or repetitive stress. The most common types of foot and ankle injuries include:

  • Achilles tendonitis or tear
  • Ankle strain or sprain
  • Stress fractures of the foot
  • Fractures of the ankle
  • Plantar fasciitis

Treatment Options

Every foot and ankle injury is unique, which means that the treatment plan that is best for each of our Austin patients also varies.

The RICE Technique

When a foot or ankle injury first occurs, the best course of treatment is the RICE technique, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

Individuals should rest to keep weight off the injured foot/ankle. While resting, the foot and ankle should be wrapped and elevated. Ice or cold compresses can be applied to the area for 15 to 20 minutes at a time periodically throughout the day. RICE alone may work for minor sprains or strains, but most foot and ankle injuries require medical attention.

Other Treatment Options

There are several treatment techniques that may be used to treat foot and ankle trauma. Our doctors start with the least invasive course of action and only consider more intensive treatments as necessary. Foot and ankle injuries are commonly treated with rest, medication, and the use of a walking boot or cast. However, some injuries require surgical treatment. Surgical techniques for foot and ankle injuries include:

  • Arthroscopy (minimally invasive surgery)
  • Ankle fracture surgery
  • Ankle joint replacement

How Fast Can I Recover From a Foot or Ankle Injury?

Everyone heals at their own rate, and the length of time that it takes to recover from a foot and ankle injury is largely dependent on the type and severity of the trauma. That being said, most people can expect it to take several weeks to recover from a foot or ankle injury.

If an injury requires surgery, patients can expect to wear a cast and rely on crutches or other assistive devices for several weeks after surgery is complete. Although foot and ankle injury recovery can feel drawn out, it is important to allow the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments time to heal properly, so that further complications do not develop.

Contact Us Today

If you have suffered from a foot or ankle injury, the doctors at Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin can create a treatment plan to restore comfort and movement. To discuss your injury with our specialists, send us a message online, or call (512) 476-2830 to schedule a consultation.