Now that summer is in full swing, many of us are feeling the urge to get back to our favorite outdoor activities. While getting back into regular activity is good, it is important to take it slow and not immediately begin intense exercise as this can cause injury. Other small steps that can prevent injury include:
- Wearing proper footwear for each activity to help prevent ankle injuries from happening, such as wearing tennis shoes to work in the yard or a sturdy hiking shoe when you’ll be hiking.
- Looking for a field or court that’s in good shape when you are playing sports. The playing surface should be without holes or large cracks that can lead to injury.
- Being mindful of how deep the water is when you go swimming, and not jumping into shallow or dark water where you can’t see the bottom.
Ankle injuries can vary in severity from mild to severe. A broken foot or ankle with an obvious deformity should be seen by a medical professional at the emergency department or an urgent care as soon as possible. Mild ankle sprains may cause swelling, bruising, difficulty moving and tenderness. They can be treated using the RICE method, which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. If your ankle isn’t feeling better, the swelling and bruising hasn’t gone down or you’re having trouble walking on it after a few days, it’s time to follow up with a specialist. Some ankle breaks may need to be treated with surgery to make sure the joint heals correctly. Proper treatment of a broken ankle is important to prevent further discomfort and injury.
Recovery depends on the type of injury and the level of activity each individual wants to return to. For minor injuries, many people can return to their activities in sports within several days, but severe injuries may take up to several weeks. Fortunately, Cone Health has an exceptional network of orthopedic surgeons dedicated to educating patients on how to properly care for their joints.
John Hewitt, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in foot and ankle surgery in Greensboro and is a member of the Cone Health Medical and Dental Staff. Dr. Hewitt received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from North Carolina State University in 1992 and a post-baccalaureate degree in pre-medical studies in 1994. He completed medical school and a residency in orthopedic surgery at Duke University School of Medicine in 1999 and 2005, respectively. He also completed his fellowship in orthopedic foot and ankle surgery at Duke University Medical Center in 2010.