For Many, Winter is Fall Season

How to han­dle icy con­di­tions that can cause falls and bro­ken ankles

Slip­pery win­ter con­di­tions often accel­er­ate falls and can cause more severe trau­ma to the ankle joint because the foot can turn in var­i­ous direc­tions upon slip­ping. This can lead to seri­ous injury. How­ev­er, many peo­ple are able to walk away from falls, believ­ing they do not require med­ical treat­ment. It is impor­tant not to assume that just because you can walk, that you don’t have a bad­ly sprained ankle or broken/​fractured bone. Putting weight on the joint can lead to fur­ther dam­age, chron­ic insta­bil­i­ty, joint pain and arthri­tis lat­er on.

Some peo­ple may frac­ture and sprain an ankle at the same time, and a bad sprain can mask the frac­ture. If you sus­pect you may have injured your ankle, it is best to have the foot exam­ined as soon as pos­si­ble so that a prop­er diag­no­sis can be made and treat­ment can begin. If you are unable to vis­it a foot and ankle sur­geon or emer­gency room right away, you can fol­low the RICE tech­nique — Rest, Ice, Com­pres­sion and Ele­va­tion – until you can receive med­ical care.

Accord­ing to FootHealth​Facts​.org, even though symp­toms of ankle sprains and frac­tures are sim­i­lar, symp­toms of a frac­ture include:

  • Pain at the site of the frac­ture that can extend from the foot to the knee
  • Sig­nif­i­cant swelling
  • Blis­ters over the frac­ture site
  • Bruis­ing soon after the injury
  • Bone pro­trud­ing through the skin — a com­pound frac­ture, which requires imme­di­ate attention!

Most ankle frac­tures and some sprains are treat­ed by immo­bi­liz­ing the joint in a cast or splint to fos­ter union and heal­ing. How­ev­er, surgery may be need­ed to repair frac­tures with sig­nif­i­cant malalign­ment to unite bone frag­ments and realign them prop­er­ly. New­ly designed sur­gi­cal plates and screws allow repair of these injuries with less trau­ma from surgery. These meth­ods allow small­er inci­sions to be made to reduce tis­sue dam­age, bleed­ing, and to help speed up the heal­ing process.

If you fall on an icy spot and hurt your ankle, seek med­ical atten­tion imme­di­ate­ly. Ear­ly diag­no­sis and prop­er treat­ment of the injury can help reduce the risk of more damage.

If you are expe­ri­enc­ing ankle frac­tures and sprains or oth­er foot and ankle prob­lems, sched­ule an appointment with a Duly Health and Care podi­a­trist today.

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