For Patients

Foot and Ankle Trauma FAQ

My ankle feels unstable and unsteady 3 months after a sprain. Why?

Chronic ankle instability (ligaments that have healed abnormally) or damage to joint cartilage can cause long term swelling, a sense of instability and pain. If you have sprained your ankle and it is not back to normal in 3 months, you may require an MRI to assess the ligaments and joint cartilage. Even without a ligament tear or cartilage injury, many people may require physical therapy including strengthening and balance training to get better. Contact us for a complete exam.

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What is the difference between a fracture and a break?

A fracture and a break are the same thing. A fracture is the medical term we use to describe a break in a bone.

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What causes frequent ankle sprains?

Common causes of ankle sprains are improper shoe gear, instability of joints, muscle weakness or a high arch foot. Treatment and prevention depends on determining the cause of your instability via a biomechanical examination, gait examination and x-rays.

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How long does it take for a bone to heal?

Bones take on average between 6 to 8 weeks to heal. In children they can heal faster. Healing can take longer if you are older or have a condition such as osteopenia or osteoporosis. Sometimes bones can take longer to heal if there is too much movement at a fracture site. Talk to your doctor about how you can improve your bone healing.

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Is it true that if I can walk on my foot, it is probably not broken?

Not true. Many people are walking around on broken bones. If you have fallen or twisted your foot or ankle and have noticed swelling and bruising, there may be a good chance you have broken a bone. It is better to get an x-ray and make sure it is not broken than to walk around in pain for months due to failure to properly treat your injury.

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