Denver Foot & Ankle Pain Relief
The ankle joint is medically known as the talocrural joint. It is formed by three bones: the tibia, fibula, and talus that are supported by strong ligaments. As the ankles support the weight of the entire body, ankle injuries are very common. Each year, approximately 2 million patients are treated for ankle injuries. While many of these injuries will heal on their own, Jeff Coverly, PT at Coverly Physical Therapy in Denver can help to expedite the process and ensure the biomechanics in the joints are corrected to decrease risk of re-injury.
Common Ankle Injuries
A sprained ankle results when the ligaments of the ankle joint are stretched past their normal range. This results in ligamentous tears that can vary between small rips to complete disruption of the ligament. Most ankle sprains occur during sports events that include activities such as running, jumping, or walking. Initial symptoms of a sprained ankle include: pain, tenderness to touch, swelling, bruising, inability to walk or stand, and joint stiffness.
The Achilles tendon is the large tendon located on the back of the heel. It is formed by the insertion of the calf muscle onto the heal bone. Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury that occurs when repetitive use of this tendon results in little tears throughout the tissue. Common activities that result in Achilles tendonitis include: running, jumping, tight calf muscles, and excessively flat feet.
A stress fracture is another type of overuse injury. It occurs when muscles become fatigued and are unable to absorb added shock. Eventually, the fatigued muscle transfers the overload of stress to the bone causing a tiny crack. This crack is called a stress fracture.
Disorders of the ankle require a comprehensive rehabilitation program including rest, manual therapy, and strengthening in order to make a full recovery. Each step plays an important role in regaining function after an injury.
Directly following an injury I advocate RICE. RICE is the first aid acronym used for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. It is the initial step to take after sustaining an ankle injury. The combination of RICE helps reduce inflammation that occurs after acute injury. It is important to remember that the earlier this treatment is put into place, the more effective it is.
Early manual therapy after sustaining an ankle injury is an important step in the rehabilitation process. With the prolonged period of rest that is required after suffering an ankle injury, the muscles around the joint often become shortened and tight.