Wikimedia Commons Nicole Kidman is a trouper. While husband Keith Urban was doing a surprise benefit concert in support of frontline workers in Tennessee she showed up all smiles while donning a walking boot. Turns out she was running around her neighborhood and didn't see a pothole.  She rolled her ankle and ended up breaking it. 

You might think foot and ankle injuries occur most often in the young and the restless or athletes. But just as often, hanging out at home can be just as hazardous. One of the most common dangers is slamming your toe into a dresser or other hard object in the middle of the night.

But there are many other hazards in the home and backyard which can lead to a broken ankle an other foot injuries. Now that you're home more, scanning your house and yard for tripping dangers will help prevent a broken ankle or worse.

How to Prevent A Broken Ankle

  • Don't go barefoot - as much as you might want to kick off your shoes while cleaning up your yard or gardening, don't do it. Lack of foot support can lead to trip, fall, and twisted ankle.  It's best to wear tennis shoes or a clog like Oofos (which can also be helpful for people with heel pain) when in the garden.    
  • Check your shoes to wear - turn your tennis shoes over. Do you see any uneven wear? If so, it's time to buy a new pair.  Worn out shoes do not provide good support.
  • Always wear closed toed shoes when mowing your lawn.
  • Check your yard for stray hoses, fallen tree limbs, and divots. 
  • Remove clutter from your home - now is a great time to clean up the areas of your home that are potential fall hazards.  In particular, remove any objects on the floor.
  • Check area rugs to ensure edges can't come up and that there's non-slip backing.
  • Coil or tape cords and wires next to the wall. If needed, have an electrician install another outlet.
  • Install a night light so you can see where you're going in the middle of the night.

What to Do if You Think Your Ankle Is Broken

So you've fallen and your ankle is killing you. Should you go see your podiatrist or doctor? The short answer is yes, if you want to make sure it's not broken. It's almost impossible to tell without an X-ray if your ankle is broken or sprained. The truth is that a sprain can take much longer to heal than a fracture or break.

Whatever you decide to do, it's important to take action right away to keep down the inflammation, swelling and pain you'll experience with either situation. We recommend using the RICE protocol to accomplish this. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

  • Rest - stop all physical activity and don't put any weight on the affected ankle.
  • Ice - apply an ice pack to the affected area (with a layer of cloth between your skin and the ice), 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
  • Compression - use an elastic or Ace bandage to provide compression to the area.
  • Elevate - keep the ankle elevated as much as possible.

If the affected ankle isn't healing after a week or so, please make an appointment with our office. In addition to an X-ray, an MRI may be required to assess damage to the underlying soft tissue.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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Photo credit: Wikimedia, Georges Biard

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