Your foot and ankle have at least 28 bones and over 30 joints. These joints are lined with a smooth, hard joint cartilage. This cartilage allows the bones to glide smoothly over one another allowing the joints to move as you walk or run. Your muscles, tendons and ligaments work together to control these complex foot and ankle motions.
Your ankle is made up of three main bones: the tibia, the fibula and the talus. These bones are held in place by three main sets of ligaments: the lateral ankle ligaments, the deltoid ligament and the syndesmosis ligament. These ligaments connect one bone to another bone and provide stability by preventing the bones from moving too far away from each other.
Taken together, these bones and ligaments give the ankle stability which is similar to the stability found in a ring. If you break a ring in one place, the remainder of the ring remains stable. This is also true for the ankle. If you fracture one of the bones or tear one of the ligaments, the ankle usually remains stable.
However, like a ring, if you break the ankle or tear ligaments in two places, the ankle becomes unstable. It is important to determine whether your ankle injury is stable or unstable because stable ankle injuries are usually treated without surgery, many times by just applying a cast, a boot or a brace, whereas unstable ankle injuries are usually treated with surgery.
Foot and ankle emergencies happen every day. Broken bones, dislocations, sprains, contusions, infections, and other serious injuries can occur at any time. Early attention is vitally important. Whenever you sustain a foot or ankle injury, you should seek immediate treatment from a podiatric physician. This advice is universal, even though there are lots of myths about foot and ankle injuries.
About Foot/Ankle Bracing
There are two categories of bracing for the foot and ankle. Ankle braces and walker boots are designed to support, stabilize, immobilize or limit the range of motion of the foot and ankle either post-surgery or post-injury.
Ankle braces are used to protect the ankle during sports or post-injury to provide stability. They come in a variety of styles and materials, varying from soft fabric to very rigid.
Walker boots, an alternative to casting, are used post-surgery or after trauma. Walker boots cover the foot and the ankle, sometimes coming up as high as the knee. They are sometimes preferred to casting because they can be removed so patients can perform rehabilitation exercises and make hygiene cleansing easier.
The type of brace or walker boot used is dependent upon physician protocols and indications.
To find out more about ankle braces and walker boots, go to Breg Foot/Ankle Braces
If you and your doctor have decided surgery is the best treatment for you, your options may include surgery to repair or remove damaged tissue, fusion of bones or ankle replacement surgery.
Other non-surgical options to help manage knee problems and joint instability include cold therapy ranging from simple ice packs to motorized cold therapy (an insulated cooler with a pump and pads that deliver cold to specific joints), your doctor may suggest using cold therapy to reduce pain and swelling of an injured joint. All cold therapy, including ice, can be cold enough to damage your skin, so regardless of what kind of cold therapy you use, follow your doctor’s instructions.
Exercises for Joint Rehabilitation: Your doctor may recommend exercises to help enhance your recovery. This may include exercises for stretching to gradually increase range of motion, strengthening to regain joint function and proprioception to help with balance and core stability.