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Fractures and Breaks
Fractures and breaks occur when too much pressure is placed on the ankle or a severe twist or torsion is experienced. In many diabetic patients, this happens because there is not enough support of the ankle joint by the ligaments.
Sprains occur when the ligaments and muscles near the ankle are overstretched or twisted. Sometimes a sprain can even involve minor tears or abrasions in the ligaments. It can often be harder to treat than a break.
Certain inherited conditions, to include lateral ankle instability, can make you more prone to recurrent sprains and long term damage of your ankle ligaments.
Why Are Ankle Injuries Common in Diabetic Patients?
Ankle and foot injuries are very common in diabetic patients because of the lack of blood flow to the extremities. When the ligaments and muscles do not receive adequate blood flow, it makes them weaker and more easily damaged. This means that diabetic patients should take extra care to keep from placing excessive pressure onto the extremities to prevent injuries of the ankle.
Foot and ankle injuries are possibly the most common in the area of sports. Almost one-third of all childhood injuries are sports-related. That’s more than 3.5 million injuries each year in children ages 14 and under. The most common injuries are sprains and strains. Playground and bicycle injuries also figure into these totals. Interestingly, 62% of these sports injuries each year occur during practice.
According to research by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 25% of these sports-related injuries are foot and ankle-related. Those sports that require jumping and running are typically at a higher risk. Sports like running, basketball, soccer, football, and dancing place considerable performance demands on the feet, so are often associated with more foot and ankle injuries.
Common Sports-Related Foot Injuries
The Achilles tendon is found in the ankle and is the largest tendon in the body. Achilles tendonitis occurs typically from overuse, often sports-related.
Plantar Fasciitis is a condition where the band of tissues, or the plantar fascia, supporting the arch of the foot, absorbs too much stress, and becomes inflamed, causing pain. This is often the result of activities such as running. Almost 2 million people are treated for it each year. Most can recover without surgery.
Stress fractures can occur in athletes who participate in sports like running, basketball, tennis, gymnastics, and dance. A stress fracture, unlike a fracture, which is a broken bone, is a small crack in the bone. It can happen anywhere in the foot or ankle and is usually the result of repeated impact placed on a bone, with insufficient support from surrounding muscles.
Less Common Ankle and Foot Injuries
Pain, tingling, numbness in the ball of the foot are symptoms often indicating neuroma, which involves a pinched nerve in the foot. Another symptom may be pain between the toes when walking. An exact cause is unknown, but many factors play a role in the development of a neuroma including overuse or stress, flat feet, particularly high arches, shoe size and style, and trauma. Anything that causes inflammation, stress, and instability can lead to a neuroma. Orthotics or corticosteroid injections are the primary treatments.
Heel spurs are calcium deposits that result in bony protrusions on the heel bone. Some contributing factors may be, high arches, very flat feet, running on hard surfaces, improper footwear, age, weight, walking gait, and even diabetes. Treatment is usually a non-surgical combination of physical therapy, orthotics, muscle and tendon tapping, and anti-inflammatory medication.
While treatment is available and effective in most cases of foot and ankle injury, prevention is still the preferred approach. Consider footwear, orthotics, nutrition, conditioning, and common safety procedures any time your feet are at risk. Your feet need to last your lifetime.
Diablo Foot and Ankle offers a wide variety of treatments for ankle injuries. Call today to schedule an appointment. We are here for you!