Sprains and Fractures

The lower part of the leg below the knee wrapped in a full splint

The foot and ankle contain a total of 26 bones. Any one of the bones can become fractured as a result of an injury. Tendons are the connective tissue that connects bones to each other and holds them together. When these become strained or torn, often as a result of being hit or twisted, the result is a sprain. If a ligament is completely torn, sometimes a pop is heard or felt.

Diagnosis

Fractures can be diagnosed with the use of an X-ray, or other imaging such as a CAT scan or MRI. Sprains are often diagnosed on the basis of the type of injury and where the pain and tenderness is. Sometimes an MRI can help diagnose a specific sprain.

Treatment

The initial treatment of either a sprain or a fracture includes rest, elevation, and ice. It is important to keep weight off of the affected foot or ankle. In some cases, a cast or splint is applied to minimize motion so that the foot or ankle can heal properly. In other cases, surgery may be needed to repair a ligament or to stabilize a fracture.

An x-ray of the ankle area
An x-ray of the foot showing implanted pins to stabilize the ankle

Without Treatment:

If the support of the foot is compromised, then permanent damage may result. If the tissues do not heal properly then pain may progress and not go away.