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Ankle Injuries – Types and Treatments

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We went through the different types of Aircast ankle brace here along with the associated ankle injuries they can help to treat. I thought it would be useful to provide some more detail on the common conditions and again list the common treatments. Many people have had success with these and this is intended as a guideline who may not have been aware of the quality of ankle support braces nowadays but ultimately I’d stress that if you are unsure about a diagnosis or treatment always consult a medical professional.

Ankle Injury / Condition
Causes
Symptoms
Treatment
Relevant Aircast Ankle Brace
SprainOver-extension of the foot causing one or more ankle ligaments to be torn. Commonly inversion or eversion (inward of outward rolling) of the footBrusing
Swelling
Pain
Instability
Restricted movement
Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
More severe cases may require use of an Aircast Boot to stabilise.
Rare and severe cases may require surgery.
Aircast A60, Aircast Airsport, Aircast Sport Ankle Stirrup
FractureCommon casuses are severe twists of the ankle, falls or impact from a sports injuryPain in the bones around the ankle
Inability to walk
Swelling
Protruding bone in the case of a compound fracture
Plater cast / Aircast Boot. In severe cases surgery may be required.
Course of rehabilitating physiotherapy following healing
Aicast AirSelect Walker Boot
Tarsal Tunnel SyndromeAnything that creates pressure in the Tarsal Tunnel can cause TTS. This would include benign tumors or cysts, bone spurs, inflammation of the tendon sheath, nerve ganglions, or swelling from a broken or sprained ankle. Common in those putting stress on thPain and tingling in and around ankles
Swelling of the feet
Painful burning, tingling, or numb sensations in the lower legs. Pain worsens and spreads after standing for long periods; pain is worse with activity and is relieved by rest.
Electric shock sens
Rest, manipulation, strengthening of tibialis anterior, tibialis posterior, peroneus and short toe flexors, casting with a walker boot, corticosteroid and anesthetic injections, hot wax baths, wrapping, compression hose, and orthotics. Medications may include various anti-inflammatories Aircast A60, Aircast Airsport
DislocationAbnormal separation in the joint where two or more bones meet – caused by sudden trauma on the joint from an impact or fallIntense pain
Joint instability
Deformity of the joint area
Reduced muscle strength
Bruising of joint area
Reduction of joint to normal position by a professional.
Stabilisation with an Aircast Boot.
Course of physiotherapy to complete recovery.
Aircast AirSelect Walker Boot
ArthritisInflammation and injury to the joint causing a breaking down of cartilage tissues, resulting in pain, swelling, and deformity. Tenderness or pain
Reduced ability to move, walk, or bear weight
Stiffness in the joint
Swelling in the joint
Steroid medications injected into the joints
Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling in the joints
Pain relievers
Pads or arch supports
Canes or braces to support the joints
Inserts that support the ankle and foot (orthotics)
Physical therapy
Custom shoes
Weight control
Aircast Ankle Cryo Cuff with Cooler
Talar dome lesionsUsually caused by an injury, such as an ankle sprain. If the cartilage doesn’t heal properly following the injury, it softens and begins to break off. Sometimes a broken piece of the damaged cartilage and bone will “float” in the ankle Chronic pain deep in the ankle—typically worse when bearing weight on the foot
Occasional “clicking” or “catching” feeling in the ankle when walking
Sensation of the ankle “locking” or “giving out”
Episodes of swelling of the ankle—occurring when bearing weight and subsiding when at rest
Non-surgical:
Immobilization.  Depending on the type of injury, the leg may be placed in a cast or cast boot to protect the talus.
Oral medications.  Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may be helpful in reducing the pain and inflammation.
Physical therapy.  Range-of-motion and strengthening exercises are beneficial once the lesion is adequately healed.
Ankle brace.

If non-surgical treatment fails to relieve the symptoms of talar dome lesions, surgery may be necessary. Surgery may involve removal of the loose bone and cartilage fragments within the joint and establishing an environment for healing.
Aircast Ankle Cryo Cuff with Cooler
Osteochondral lesions​The majority of OLs occur after a traumatic injury to the ankle joint. Ankle sprains (rolling-inward injuries  to the ankle) are a common cause of OLs. With this type of injury, a section of the talus surface may impact another part of the ankle joint (tibia or fibula). As this happens, an impaction, crushing  or shearing injury to the talus may occur. Other types of injury mechanisms may also cause an injury to the surface of the talus. Prolonged pain, swelling, catching  and/or instability of the ankle jointThe specifics of treatment will likely depend on the nature of the OLT, presence of other injuries  and patient characteristics.

Non-operative treatment is appropriate for certain lesions and usually involves immobilization and restricted weightbearing. This may then be followed with gradual progression of weight
bearing and physical therapy.

Other lesions may be more appropriately treated with surgery. The goals of surgery are to restore the normal shape and gliding surface of the talus in order to re-establish normal mechanics and joint forces.
Aircast Ankle Cryo Cuff with Cooler
Avulsion fracturesWhen the ankle is sprained or twisted, a force is passed through the ligaments and tendons usually on the outside of the ankle. One of two things can then happen.
Either the ligament or tendon tears, resulting in a  sprained ankle, or the ligament or tendon pulls so hard on its bony attachment, that it pulls a small piece of bone off. This is known as an avulsion fracture
Symptoms of an ankle avulsion fracture are very similar to an ankle sprain and it is very difficult to tell the difference without an X-ray or MRI scan. There will be pain in the ankle immediately after the injury occurs with immediate swelling. Bruising Although treatment is often the same whether there is an avulsion fracture or just a sprain, it may depend on the severity of the fracture and also its alignment.

More severe avulsion fractures may require  casting  for 6-8 weeks to allow the bone to heal. Following this, a period of rehabilitation will be required to ensure that full strength and mobility are regained.
Aircast Ankle Cryo Cuff with Cooler
Plantar Fasciitis / Heel PainThe plantar fascia is a strong band of tissue (like a ligament) that stretches from your heel to your middle foot bones.

Repeated small injuries to the fascia (with or without inflammation) are thought to be the cause of plantar fasciitis. The injury is usually near to where the plantar fascia attaches to your heel bone.
Pain is the main symptom. This can be anywhere on the underside of your heel. However, commonly, one spot is found as the main source of pain. This is often about 4 cm forward from your heel, and may be tender to touch.
The pain is often worst when you ta
Various options, including:
A heel pad, stretching, ice, pain relievers, a night splint, ultrasound, steroid injections, walking cast, shock wave therapy

Most practitioners agree that treatment for plantar fasciitis is a slow process. Most cases resolve within a year. If these more conservative measures don't provide relief after this time, your doctor may suggest other treatment. In such cases, or if your heel pain is truly debilitating and interfering with normal activity, your doctor may discuss surgical options with you.
Aircast Plantar Fasciitis AirHeel, Aircast Airheel Ankle Brace + Dorsal Night Splint Care Kit, Aircast Airheel Ankle Brace
Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD)Overuse of the posterior tibial tendon is often the cause of PTTD. In fact, the symptoms usually occur after activities that involve the tendon, such as running, walking, hiking, or climbing stairs. Pain, swelling, a flattening of the arch, and an inward rolling of the ankle. As the condition progresses, the symptoms will change.
For example, when PTTD initially develops, there is pain on the inside of the foot and ankle (along the course of the tendon). In addition, the area may be red, warm, and swollen.
Later, as the arch begins to flatten, there may still be pain on the inside of the foot and ankle. But at this point, the foot and toes begin to turn outward and the ankle rolls inward.
As PTTD becomes more advanced, the arch flattens even more and the pain often shifts to the outside of the foot, below the ankle.
Non-surgical approaches may include:
Orthotic devices or bracing - To give your arch the support it needs.
Immobilization - Sometimes a short-leg cast or boot is worn to immobilize the foot and allow the tendon to heal.
Physical therapy - ultrasound therapy and exercises may help rehabilitate the tendon and muscle following immobilization.
Medications.  Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, help reduce the pain and inflammation.
Shoe modifications - Your surgeon may advise changes to make with your shoes and may provide special inserts designed to improve arch support.

In cases of PTTD that have failed to improve with non-surgical treatment, surgery may be required. For some advanced cases, surgery may be the only option.
Aircast FlatFoot PTTD Brace
Fallen archesMost cases of “fallen arches” develop when the main arch-supporting tendon (the posterior tibial tendon) becomes weakened or injured, causing the arch to gradually become lower. With time, the shape of the foot changes and secondary symptoms start to appear. Pain in the heel, arch, ankle, or along the outside of the foot
“Rolled-in” ankle (over-pronation)
Pain along the shin bone (shin splint)
General aching or fatigue in the foot or leg
Low back, hip or knee pain.
Non-surgical treatment options:
Weight loss - If you are overweight, try to lose weight. Putting too much weight on your arches may aggravate your symptoms.
Orthotic devices - Your surgeon can provide you with custom orthotic devices for your shoes to give more support to the arches.
Immobilization - In some cases, it may be necessary to use a walking cast or to completely avoid weight-bearing.
Medications - Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, help reduce pain and inflammation.
Physical therapy - Ultrasound therapy or other physical therapy modalities may be used to provide temporary relief.
Shoe modifications - Wearing shoes that support the arches is important for anyone who has flatfoot.

In some patients whose pain is not adequately relieved by other treatments, surgery may be considered.
Aircast FlatFoot PTTD Brace
Achilles TendonitisThe most common theories thought to cause Achilles tendinitis are based on physiological, mechanical, and extrinsic properties (i.e footwear or training types). Physiologically, the Achilles tendon is subject to poor blood supply through the synovial sheacan vary from an ache or pain and swelling to the local area of the ankles, or a burning that surrounds the whole  joint. With this condition, the pain is usually worse during and after activity, and the tendon and joint area can become stiffer the following day as swelling impinges on the movement of the tendon.Treatment is possible with  ice,  cold compression therapy, wearing heel pads to reduce the strain on the tendon, and an exercise routine designed to strengthen the tendon.

Seeing a professional for treatment as soon as possible is important, because this injury can lead to an  Achilles tendon rupture  with continued overuse
Aircast Airheel Ankle Brace + Dorsal Night Splint Care Kit, Aircast Airheel Ankle Brace

Information compiled from the following sources:

foothealthfacts.org
webmd.com
patient.co.uk
aofas.org
sportsinjuryclinic.net