Icy Conditions Cause Falls and Injured Ankles

November 29, 2014  |   Dr. Stych's Blog   |     |   0 Comment

snow walking PegWith the hectic pace of the holidays, serious injuries from ice-related falls inevitably occur. Falls on icy surfaces are a major cause of ankle sprains and fractures, and it’s critical to seek prompt treatment to prevent further damage that can prolong recovery.

The ankle joint is vulnerable to serious injury from hard falls on ice.

Ice accelerates the fall and often causes more severe trauma because the foot can go in any direction after slipping.

In cases of less severe fractures and sprains, it’s possible to walk and mistakenly believe the injury doesn’t require medical treatment.

Never assume the ability to walk means your ankle isn’t broken or badly sprained.  Putting weight on the injured joint can worsen the problem and lead to chronic instability, joint pain and arthritis later in life.

Some people may fracture and sprain an ankle at the same time, and a bad sprain can mask the fracture.

It’s best to have an injured ankle evaluated as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment.  If you can’t see a foot and ankle surgeon or visit the emergency room right away, follow the RICE technique – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation – until medical care is available.

Even though symptoms of ankle sprains and fractures are similar, fractures are associated with:

  • Pain at the site of the fracture that can extend from the foot to the knee
  • Significant swelling
  • Blisters over the fracture site
  • Bruising soon after the injury
  • Bone protruding through the skin—a compound fracture, which requires immediate attention!

Most ankle fractures and some sprains are treated by immobilizing the joint in a cast or splint to foster union and healing. However, surgery may be needed to repair fractures with significant malalignment to unite bone fragments and realign them properly.

Newly designed surgical plates and screws allow repair of these injuries with less surgical trauma.

With newer bone-fixation methods, there are smaller incisions to minimize tissue damage and bleeding and accelerate the healing process.

If you fall on an icy spot and hurt your ankle, the best advice is to seek medical attention immediately.  This aids in early diagnosis and proper treatment of the ankle injury and reduces the risk of further damage.

Dr, Stych's Blog

  • Pedicure Advice
    June 18, 2017

    With the warmer temperatures outside, open toed shoes are making their way out of the closet and slipped on underneath beautifully manicured feet. The pedicure season is in full swing! Unfortunately, not all pedicure facilities offer clean and proper foot care and infections and other foot ailments may arise.  We would like to share the […]

  • Which Winter Boots Are Right For You?
    December 8, 2016

    1. Be sure boots are insulated and waterproof. Even if the boot maker says the boots are waterproof, still treat the pair with a waterproofing product. The body has to work harder to compensate for moisture, so try to minimize as much foot moisture as possible. 2. Select natural material, like leather, that allows proper […]

  • November is Diabetes Awareness Month
    November 2, 2016

    What is a Diabetic Foot Ulcer? A diabetic foot ulcer is an open sore or wound that occurs in approximately 15 percent of patients with diabetes and is commonly located on the bottom of the foot. Of those who develop a foot ulcer, 6 percent will be hospitalized due to infection or other ulcer-related complication. […]