Blog

Posts for tag: loose joints

    There are many parts of the foot and there are equally as many ways to damage all of them. One area of concern is our ligaments. Ligaments are thin bands of fibrous tissue that connect bones together at the joints. This is not to be confused with a tendon, which connects muscle to bone. Ligaments are tight yet springy so that joints can flex and return to a natural position. When we sprain a ligament, we stretch it further than it wants to go and it gets mad at us by swelling and becoming painful.

READ MORE: Sprain or Strain?

    Sprains can come from any activity that twists the foot into an unnatural position. Twisting or rolling your ankle is the number one cause of sprained ligaments. These injuries tend to occur suddenly from a very identifiable cause such as jumping and landing on your foot wrong. The ankle is supported by four separate ligaments: the deltoid ligament, anterior talofibular ligament, posterior talofibular ligament, and the calcaneofibular ligament. (Don’t worry, we won’t quiz you on them). Any of these can be damaged or torn in a sprain.

 

    A sprain comes in three grades of severity. Grade I is mild, usually with only minor swelling and pain. You should still be able to put weight on the foot as the joint is relatively stable. Grade II is, of course, a little bit worse; usually involving an incomplete tear in one or more ligaments. The ankle may not hold weight so crutches or a splint can help with mobility and support. Grade III is reserved for the most severe ligament damage. These ligaments have torn completely apart. You will not be able to move or put weight on the joint for some time.

 

    If you suspect you have an ankle sprain, the best place to start is R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Over-the-counter pain relievers may also be used. Swelling for a Grade I injury will begin to lessen within 24 to 48 hours. If your symptoms get worse after home remedy, go see your podiatrist. Any Grade II or III injury will need medical attention for proper treatment and healing. A 2 to 4 week recovery time can be expected for minor to moderate sprains. Sprains that need casts or splinting could take up to two months for healing. When your doctor gives you the go-ahead, you’ll want to gradually increase your activity. Partially healed sprains will not be strong enough to hold the joint stable and your chances of re injury are high.

 

READ MORE: Fix Sprains Forever!

 

    Spraining ligaments isn’t hard to do, but its easy to avoid with some logical steps. Wear supportive shoes for every activity, especially sports. Strengthen your ligaments with simple exercises like ankle rolls or calf raises. While you’re sitting at your desk at work, cross your legs and use the raised foot to write the alphabet. Even if you don’t exercise your feet specifically, make sure to warm up muscles and ligaments with a good stretch before activity.

 

    If you think you have sprained a ligament in your foot or ankle, make an appointment today. We provide urgent access to our doctors if you call 740-363-4373. Seeing your podiatrist can ensure a proper healing plan and save you money over other urgent cares or emergency rooms. Don’t delay!

May is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness Month.

If you weren’t aware that this even existed, you are not alone. After all, that’s what an awareness month is for, making us aware of a disease that doesn’t often get a lot of press.

In fact, Ehlers-Danlos is not just one syndrome; it’s a series of 13 connective-tissue disorders that result primarily in various joint and skin related issues, but sometimes manifest in dangerous ways. It all has to do with your genetics. In fact, it’s as common as 1 in 5,000 people. It affects any of 12 different genes, and which one determines how they appear in physical symptoms.

Many types have normal life expectancies, but some can result in shorter-than-expected lifespan or painful complications. The wide array of symptoms range from things you probably know like hyper-elastic skin or rheumatoid arthritis-like finger deformities and many obscure syndromes, such as levido reticularis or Arnold-Chiari malformation. Trust me, there’s too many to list here, so we’re just going to look at one type: hypermobility.

People with this type of EDS have very loose joints, which allows for excessive movement and flexibility. However, while it may look cool to bend your body in strange directions, this condition can have your joints dislocating frequently, causing painful and lasting damage. Physical evaluation and family history are the only tools for diagnosis, and there is no known cure for the disease, only treatment for its symptoms.

Don’t worry though. You should know by now if you have EDS. But it’s always worth a quick Google search to learn more about it, especially since you are now aware that it’s Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month!

Last week we talked about ankle sprains. Now we move on to the other side of the fence, ankle strains. Just looking at the words, you wouldn’t think there’s much of a difference, but there most certainly is.

As a reminder, a sprain is an injury to the ligaments connecting our bones. A sprain on the other hand, is an injury involving the muscles and tendons. Similar to sprains, there are varying degrees of injury with strains. Sometimes, a strain could be a tiny stretch in the muscle due to overuse. Other times, a strain could be a complete tear in the muscle-tendon combination.

Our muscles are made up of bundles of fibers that gradually form into tendons that connect to our bones. In order to move our bodies, the muscle fibers and tendon fibers will contract and lengthen. When we over stretch these muscles, we end up with a strain. The bad thing about strains is that they can happen just as easily from a one time stressful event as they can from long periods of over use. The other problem with strains is that the injury could occur solely in the muscle, solely in the tendon, or at the intersection of both. Your podiatrist can determine where your strain has occurred and how severe it is.

The good thing about strains is that the general treatment for them is the same as a sprain. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) is the first step and may be combined with stability wraps, support boots, staying off the affected area, or in the severe cases, surgery.

So no matter whether you have a sprain or a strain, start with RICE and then call your podiatrist to book an appointment. Chronic sprains or strains weaken our bodies over time, so even if the pain goes away on its own, you still want to make an appointment to discuss with your doctor the underlying causes and form a healthy plan to modify your activities. So forget Google-ing your pain away, whether it’s a sprain or strain, the FAAWC has the best answer.

Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on inside our bodies. When we experience pain we often run to the all-knowing Google and try to diagnose ourselves (usually with a life-threatening disease), but Google can’t give you a proper examination and it certainly can’t treat whatever is ailing you. When it comes to your ankles, some basic knowledge can save you the hassle of an Internet search and start you on the road to recovery faster.

One of the most common Internet searches involving ankles is how to tell the difference between a sprain and a strain. There is an important designation so we decided we could save you the search and put all the information here in two very helpful blog posts. Today, we will look at ankle sprains.

Ligaments are bands of soft tissue that connect our bones and help them move properly. If these ligaments are stretched or torn, you have an ankle sprain. This usually happens when the foot is twisted in a sharp direction very suddenly. Sprains are classified into three degrees of severity. Grade 1 is a mild sprain with slight stretching and damage to only some of the ligament fibers. Grade 2 is a moderate sprain with partial tearing of the ligament. Grade 3 is a severe sprain with full tearing of the ligament, rendering the joint unusable.

All three grades of sprains will present with pain, bruising, and swelling. If your joint feels abnormally loose, you may have a grade 2 sprain. If you can’t use the joint at all, you may have a grade 3 sprain. Your podiatrist at the FAAWC can help diagnose the severity of your sprain.

Treatment for all three starts with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Moderate sprains may require wearing a brace for a few weeks for support. Severe ligament tears may require surgery. You and your podiatrist can put together the right treatment plan for you to get you back on your feet fast.

Stay tuned next week to see why a sprain is different then a strain!