Winter Wipeouts: Don’t Delay Treatment for Ankle injuries
For Immediate Release
Public Relations Manager, 773.693.9300, ext. 1306
(CHICAGO – November 2, 2006) If you fall on the ice and hurt your ankle this winter, don’t put off waiting to see a doctor. That’s the warning today from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS), a national medical association of 6,000 doctors.
“Never assume the ability to walk means your ankle isn’t broken or badly sprained,” says Matthew C. Dairman, DPM, FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon in Suffolk, Va. “It’s best to have an injured ankle evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible.”
Putting weight on an injured ankle joint can worsen the problem and lead to chronic instability, joint pain and arthritis later in life. If you can’t see a foot and ankle surgeon or visit the emergency room right away, the ACFAS consumer Web site FootHealthFacts.org recommends following the RICE principle – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation – until medical care is available.
“The ankle joint is vulnerable to serious injury from hard falls on ice,” says Dr. Dairman. “Ice accelerates the fall and often causes more severe trauma, because the foot can go in any direction after it slips.”
Falling on winter ice can cause ankle sprains and fractures. It is possible to both fracture and sprain an ankle from a fall, and a bad sprain can mask the fracture.
Most ankle fractures and some sprains are treated by immobilizing the joint in a cast or splint. Surgery may be needed to repair fractures with significant misalignments.
Dr. Dairman says new surgical plates and screws allow foot and ankle surgeons to repair these injuries with less surgical trauma.
“With newer bone-fixation methods, there are smaller incisions to minimize tissue damage and bleeding and accelerate the healing process,” he says
For further information about ankle fractures and sprains, and to locate a foot and ankle surgeon in your area, visit FootHealthFacts.org.