What Is a Traumatic Foot or Ankle Injury?
In the broadest sense, all foot and ankle injuries fall into one of two big categories: overuse injuries and traumatic injuries. Overuse covers aches and pains that develop slowly over time, or from repetitive activity. Heel pain, stress fractures, and shin splints are obvious examples.
Traumatic injuries, meanwhile, usually occur suddenly as the result of a specific impact or accident. For example: you go up for a header, but land awkwardly and another player steps on your ankle when it’s in a vulnerable position.
Common traumatic injuries include:
- Sprains (not just in the ankle)
- Tendon ruptures
- Pulled muscles
- Broken bones
- Turf toe
What Should I Do If I Suffer a Traumatic Injury to My Feet or Ankles?
First, you should stop what you’re doing and avoid bearing weight on the injured leg. You don’t want to make your injury any worse than it is. If the injury looks (or feels) severe, don’t mess around—get someone to drive you to the ER or call 911.
Then, you should call to schedule an appointment to come see us. All traumatic injuries should be accurately diagnosed and treated, and a foot and ankle sports injury specialist with advanced treatment options will be your best bet.
In the meantime, begin basic injury first aid, which you can remember with the acronym RICE:
- Don’t do anything to aggravate your injury. Avoid athletic activity.
- Use ice packs as directed to limit pain and swelling. Do not ice more than 20 minutes in a hour, and don’t apply ice directly to your skin.
- Use a compression wrap, brace, or athletic tape on the injured area.
- Try to keep your injured foot elevated to improve blood flow.