Ankle sprains are caused by an unnatural twisting or force on the ankle bones of the foot, which may result in excessive stretching or tearing of one or more ligaments on the outside of the ankle. The severity of the sprain can impact the degree of damage as well as the type and duration of treatment. If not properly treated, ankle sprains may develop into long-term problems.
Primary symptoms of ankle sprains are pain following a twist or injury, swelling, and bruising.
Treatment includes resting and elevating the ankle and applying ice to reduce swelling. Compressive bandages also may be used to immobilize and support the injury during healing. Serious ankle sprains, particularly among competitive athletes, may require surgery to repair and tighten the damaged ligaments.
To prevent ankle sprains, try to maintain strength, balance, and flexibility in the foot and ankle through exercising, stretching, and wearing well-fitted shoes.
Tendonitis (also called tendinitis) is an inflammation or irritation of a tendon, a thick cord that attaches bone to muscle. Tendonitis is most often caused by repetitive, minor impact on the affected area, or from a sudden more serious injury. Anyone can get tendonitis, but it is more common in adults, especially those over 40 years of age. As tendons age they tolerate less stress, are less elastic, and are easier to tear.
Treatments include avoiding activities that aggravate the problem, resting the injured area, icing the area or taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications or using topical anti-inflammatory gels. Depending on the severity, treatments may include cortisone injections or stem cell injections.
Growth Plate Injury
Growing kids and adolescents are prone to foot and ankle injuries. The most common foot and ankle injury in growing kids and adolescents are growth plate injuries. Growth plates are the softest and weakest part of the skeleton often weaker than the surrounding ligaments and tendons. Active children and adolescents who participate in organized sports and activities are the most susceptible to these types of growth plate injuries. Growth plate injuries can affect children until skeletal maturity which typically is between 14-15 in girls and 16-17 in boys.
Growth plate injuries in the foot and ankle come in two types: overuse, inflammatory growth plate injury and fracture of the growth plate.
Overuse/Inflammatory Growth plate Injury:
By far, overuse and inflammatory growth plate injury is commonly seen in our active children 9-13 years in age. Those kids and adolescents participating in sports that require long hours and repetitive movements, such as basketball, gymnastics, dance, soccer and football, will often develop heel or ankle pain. This inflammatory growth plate injury is known as Sever’s disease or calcaneal apophysitis. Often your children will complain of pain heel mostly with running and physical activity. It can be associated with swelling and limping on the affect foot and ankle. The pain is aggravated by walking and pressure on the affected foot and ankle. If these symptoms occur your child should be evaluated to determine which treatment option would be best. Treatment in most cases is completely noninvasive including resting, icing and elevating of the affected foot and ankle. In some cases, children might need anti-inflammatory therapies and stretching and strengthening exercises regimes. Only severe cases require a period of immobilization often accomplished with either bracing, walking boot or casting of the growth plate.
Other overuse growth plate injures can affection the foot and leg other than sever’s disease. When the pain is along the 2nd toe joint in the foot it is known as Friedberg’s disease and most commonly affects growing girls. Growth plate pain along upper leg near the knee is known as Osgood-Schlatter disease. Many of these overuse growth plate injuries will heal without complication but the role of the physician is to ease the symptoms and get the child back to their favorite activities and sports as quickly and safely as possible.
Fracture Growth Plate Injury:
Growth plate fractures are rare but can easily occur in young active kids and adolescents because growth plates are the weakest part of the skeleton. A fall or twisting injury that might normally cause a joint sprain in an adult can cause a growth plate fracture in a child. Growth plate fractures often need immediate treatment because they can affect how the bone will grow. An improperly treated growth plate fracture could result in a fractured bone ending up more crooked or shorter than its opposite limb. With proper treatment, most growth plate fractures heal without complications. Again, active children are the most prone to fracture of the growth plates due to more potential for falls, hard blows, twists during sports and physical activities. Your child will complain of pain, swelling and sometimes bruising along the affected growth plate. The child or adolescents might have difficulty putting pressure on the affected limb or even moving the affected joint near the growth plate that was fractured. If you suspect that your child might have a fracture, obtaining an xray is a quick and very diagnostic tool to facilitate the physician in deciding treatment. Treatment of most growth plate fractures is immobilization through a cast or walking boot. In some cases where there is a shifted, shattered, or crushed growth plate surgery might be necessary in order to improve alignment and stopped stunted or accelerate bone growth. With proper treatment, most growth plate fractures heal without complications