Treatment of Acute & Chronic Ankle Injuries

Dr. Tony Taylor, MD, EMBA, Emergency Physician, discusses treatment of ankle injuries.

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Dr. Tony Taylor, MD, EMBA, Emergency Physician, discusses treatment of ankle injuries.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Tony Taylor, MD, EMBA

Duration: 3 minutes, 13 seconds

If you injure your ankle playing tennis, the first thing you should do is stop playing and seek assistance to get off the court.

Ankle injuries are common injuries, seen frequently in family physician’s offices or in the emergency departments. They often occur when people are doing activities such as sporting events, running, hiking, and can occur if you slip and fall.

The first thing to worry about is if you can walk on the ankle. If you cannot walk on it, it is important that you seek medical attention. If you can walk on it, but it is very, very painful, you should be encouraged to seek medical attention.

When you seek the care of a healthcare provider, they will do an assessment on your ankle to try and determine whether or not you have broken a bone in your ankle, and whether or not you need an x-ray. Not all ankle injuries need to be x-rayed. In fact, the vast majority of them do not.

Once it has been determined that your ankle injury is not an actual broken bone, but more of a ligamentous injury, or strain of the ligaments and tendons around the ankle, then the treatment is pretty straightforward. It is basically elevating your leg, applying ice to the swollen area, and it is important when you apply ice, that you do not get frostbite on the skin.

The easiest way to do that is to put some ice into a bag, put a towel over your ankle, and then put the ice bag on your ankle. Leave the ice on there for 20 minutes out of every hour, and do this four or five times a day. The more you can do this, the better, and the faster the swelling will go down, and the less bruising you will have, but at least four or five times a day. Keeping the ankle elevated also helps.

Physiotherapy is an important part of the healing process for a number of reasons. One, it helps improve the mobility and movement through the ankle. Two, it helps get the swelling down, but most importantly, what it helps to do is restrengthen the ligaments around the ankle, and this is important for a number of reasons, especially if you are active.

What it does is allow you to know when your foot is flat on the ground, and decreases the chances of you having recurrent ankle sprains with activities. So physiotherapy is good. You can start it as early as the day of the injury, or the day after the injury, and continue it until the ankle is back to its former condition.

Presenter: Dr. Tony Taylor, Emergency Physician, New Westminster, BC

Local Practitioners: Emergency Physician

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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