The foot and ankle contains a total of 26 bones. Any one of the bones can become fractured as a result of injury. Tendons are the connective tissue that connects bones to each other and holds them together. When these become strained or torn, often as a result of being hit or twisted, the result is a sprain. If a ligament is completely torn, sometime a pop is heard or felt.
Fractures can be diagnosed with the use of an X-ray, or other imaging such as a CAT scan or MRI. Sprains are often diagnosed on the basis of the type of injury and where the pain and tenderness is. Sometimes an MRI can help diagnose a specific sprain.
The initial treatment of either a sprain or a fracture includes rest, elevation and ice. It is important to keep weight off of the affected foot or ankle. In some cases a cast or splint is applied to minimize motion so that the foot or ankle can heal properly. In other cases surgery may be needed to repair a ligament or to stabilize a fracture. Stretching exercises may be required after treatment of a sprain or fracture to avoid stiffness and restricted motion in the affected joints, muscles, and ligaments.
If the support of the foot is compromised, then permanent damage may result. If the tissues do not heal properly then pain may progress and not go away.
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