Crrrack! There’s no sound quite like that of a ball being launched off a bat at Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds. The season may be finished, but already Reds fans are looking forward to next spring, when the sound will fill the ballpark once again. If you hear a cracking sound before then, though, it could be a very bad sign: an ankle fracture.
The first step after experiencing a sudden injury is to follow the RICE protocol: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Get off the injured foot or ankle, use ice for 20 minutes at a time to reduce swelling, wrap the injury with a compression wrap or bandage, and elevate the foot above heart level as often as possible. Try not to put any weight on the injury at all until you’ve seen us or your regular physician for an evaluation.
If you suspect a fracture, get help right away. Remember, a fracture may not always be obvious; a broken ankle may be obscured by the symptoms of a severe sprain. An X-ray at our office will reveal whether or not a break has occurred, and if so, where.
If the fracture is stable—the bones are not out of place—you may be lucky enough to avoid surgery, requiring only immobilization in a cast, brace, or splint. Whether you need surgery or not, however, it may take a long time for the bones to fully heal and the ligaments and tendons to return to full strength.
Once you’re back up on your feet and we feel it is safe, we will start you on some physical therapy exercises to reduce pain and rebuild strength, flexibility, and range of motion. This program will usually include a number of stretches, exercises such as towel curls, and other techniques. Don’t give up—depending on the severity of the fracture, it may take several months or even a year or two to get back to full speed, but committing to physical therapy will pay off in the long run.
If you’ve suffered an injury, especially an ankle fracture, don’t wait—contact Family Foot and Ankle Center right away. Your foot and ankle health is our top priority; we’ll set you on the right path to recovery. Call at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 to set an appointment at one of our six Greater Cincinnati locations.