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What Should I Do If I Injured My Foot or Ankle?

Let's face it, injuries are bound to happen once in awhile. Sometimes it's a slip related to flimsy flip-flops or unsteady high heels. Sometimes, it's a "banged toe" on the way to the bathroom at 3 am. Sometimes it happens while playing a sport. All of these scenarios have the following initial treatment in common: "RICE".

1. Rest- The first thing is to get off your feet.

2. Ice- Applying ice is very important during the first 3 days after an injury. Place a towel over the skin for protection and apply an ice pack (or bag of frozen veggies) for 10 minutes, remove it for 10 minutes and then back on again for 10 minutes. You can do this as needed throughout the first 3 days to reduce swelling.

3. Compression- An ace bandage or foot/ankle brace can help reduce swelling initially.

4. Elevation- By raising the injured area above heart level (do this while reclining), you will let gravity "be your friend" to help limit swelling.

If the injured area still hurts after 3 days, then I would advise an appointment with a podiatrist.  X-rays will be taken to rule out a "fracture" (broken bone).  Appropriate immobilization strappings, removable braces, surgical shoes or walking casts are then commonly used to make it easier to walk. I also prescribe natural anti-inflammatories to further reduce the pain and swelling.

In conclusion, the primary goal in treating an acute injury is to keep the swelling down in the first 3 days. This will go a long way towards making it less painful and make for a speedier recovery. I typically suggest that my patients get a pair of “orthotics” to reduce future chances of injuries. 

Climb aboard the “Wellness Wagon” and remember to "Start With Your Feet".

Walk Strong…with orthotics,

Doc Rick DPM

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