Ligament and Tendon Ruptures of the Foot and Ankle
There is a popular saying that one would rather break a bone than tear a ligament… and there is some truth to this.
Soft tissue injuries to the foot and ankle can be mild and have a relatively rapid and straightforward recovery while other more severe soft tissue injuries can lead to lingering long-term issues such as chronic ankle weakness, instability, pain, swelling and eventually to degradation of the joint. Inversion ankle injuries (ankle sprains) are perhaps the most common presenting injury at your local ER or urgent care facilities, yet many times if no fractures are seen on x-ray, the patient is told the “good news” that it is just a sprain or strain and sent home with some basic information on sprains. However, this can be misleading as ligament tears, cracked cartilage, and tendon ruptures cannot be diagnosed on x-rays alone.
This is where a highly trained foot and ankle specialist can make a big difference with a thorough workup and physical examination of your ankle to check strength and stability and in many cases order an MRI to rule out more severe injuries such as bone contusions (bruising), cartilage damage, and ligament or tendon tears/ruptures. Proper diagnosis is key to minimizing any long-term problems associated with these injuries as some soft-tissue injuries heal better (and faster) with early surgical intervention.