Orthopedic Services That An Ankle Specialist May Recommend Before Surgery
There are so many things that can go wrong with your ankle. You could develop arthritis, or sprain one of the ligaments, or tear your Achilles tendon. Many of these injuries need to be treated with surgery if they are serious, but your orthopedic doctor will often try to avoid recommending surgery if at all possible. The nice part is that many ankle injuries can be treated and managed in similar, non-surgical ways. Here's a look at the non-surgical treatments an ankle specialist may recommend.
An ankle brace is like a soft cast that you can take on and off. It will go up around your foot and also around your lower leg. The brace will keep your ankle from bending more than a little. Wearing a brace can give almost any tendon or ligament in your ankle time to rest and heal, which makes this a common treatment for Achilles tendinitis, and also for tears or sprains of any of the ligaments in your ankle. A brace may also be the recommended treatment for many more minor ankle fractures. It has the advantage of being removable, whereas a traditional cast will keep you from washing your foot for a few weeks!
Cortisone is a steroid — but not the kind of steroid that bodybuilders and other athletes sometimes use illegally. It is a type of steroid that can help alleviate inflammation and stimulate your body to heal. Therefore, orthopedic doctors can find cortisone injections really helpful for dealing with a range of ankle injuries. They'll inject the cortisone directly into the tissue that is injured, which will trigger that tissue to start repairing itself and also help alleviate your pain. More serious injuries, like strains of the Achilles tendon, may require several injections, spaced a few months apart.
Do not be surprised if your orthopedic doctor refers you to a physical therapist who they work with closely. Physical therapy is really helpful for ankle injuries, since most injuries are, to some degree or another, the result of weakness somewhere in the calf or foot. Your physical therapist will identify where you are weak and help you strengthen those muscles, which should help your ankle heal and avoid future injuries.
Orthopedic specialists have a great selection of ankle treatments that they can try before referring you for surgery.
To learn more about ankle orthopedic services, talk to your local orthopedist.