Subtle Ankle Fractures: Commonly Misdiagnosed As Foot Sprain
Foot injuries of any type can lead to great pain and long term foot complications, including abnormal gait. If you’ve suffered a recent foot injury, especially around the ankle, you probably have self-diagnosed your complication as an ankle sprain or ankle strain. In many cases, what we believe to be a simple ankle sprain or ankle sprain, ultimately turns out to be a more complex foot injury such as a foot or ankle fracture.
Ankle fractures are commonly diagnosed through evaluation with a healthcare professional in an emergency room setting. Just as your self-diagnosis, in many cases, when you visit with the emergency room staff, your ankle fracture may be misdiagnosed as a sprain or strain. Because ankle fractures are very small and, often, very subtle, they are easily overlooked even by the best-trained eye.
In addition to fractures being very small, ankle fractures are also asymptomatic in most cases. That is to say, once the inflammation and swelling, acute from the trauma, you may feel no pain or abnormalities with walking. Instead, what you may notice is tenderness in and around specific points of the ankle but only when you palpitate the area yourself. In other words, if you do not press and feel around your ankle, you may never know the ankle fracture is present.
If you’ve recently experienced a foot or ankle injury, and notice relatively minor symptoms but marked tenderness when the ankle area is touched, it may be necessary to consult with a healthcare professional. Most often, an orthopedic physician will order x-rays, even if you previously had x-rays during an emergency room visit. Upon examination by x-ray, especially after swelling and inflammation are reduced, your orthopedic will find he can more clearly ascertain the presence of the fracture that may have been overlooked initially. There are several credible medical service providers that you can tend to is you face any foot or ankle injury. Many members of our podiatry billing team will provide you the best tips and recommendations that you can follow in order to get rid of your medical issues.
If confirmed as suffering from an asymptomatic ankle fracture, your physician will provide you with a short leg cast that will serve to immobilize and create a non-weight bearing treatment for four to six weeks. While your foot was probably not bothersome before you saw the orthopedic specialist, this short leg cast is necessary to promote healing of the fracture and prevent further compromise of your gait and mobilization.
As with any foot or ankle injury, the key to your quick recovery lies in the early and accurate diagnosis of your complication. In cases where ankle injury appears to be a minor ankle sprain or ankle strain, it is best to seek out the advice of an orthopedic specialist as soon as the swelling and inflammation subside. In doing so, your best x-rays can be taken and the orthopedic can ascertain the true presence of a subtle and small ankle fracture that may be otherwise misdiagnosed or overlooked.