While you do your best to avoid car accidents, sometimes they are inevitable. Even if you do everything right as a driver, you can’t control how others drive on the road. Among the various types of injuries you can get from an auto accident, there are several that affect the foot or ankle. Take a closer look at some of the most common types of foot or ankle injuries and the ideal treatment methods.
Common Foot and Ankle Injuries from Car Accidents
It is especially common for people to sustain a foot or ankle injury in car accidents. This results from the way cars are designed. We also typically tense up our muscles in preparation for a collision, which further aggravates the injuries. Our feet consist of several parts that can be prone to damage. Each foot has 26 bones and also soft tissue like muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints.
Take a closer look at some of the most common foot and ankle injuries following car accidents.
Car accidents are common in New York City, and one of the most common injuries is broken bones. Aside from breaking bones in your foot or ankle, bones in your knees or other parts of your body can also break or sustain stress fractures, causing immediate and severe pain. Some common bones that break in car accidents are the talus and tibia.
There are also some types of fractures that you are at risk for, such as:
- Lisfranc fractures: A foot fracture to the middle of your foot that can take at least 10 weeks to heal.
- Calcaneus or heel bone fractures: Another potential point of fracture is your heel bone or calcaneus. This type of injury can be very debilitating, and it typically requires surgery.
- Ankle avulsion fracture: This is when the impact causes a tendon or ligament to break some of your bone off. These typically require surgery, although not always.
- Toe and forefoot fractures: Five metatarsal bones in the forefoot that may fracture or break during impact.
The most common types of ankle fractures from car accidents include:
- Distal fibula fractures
- Medial malleolus fractures
- Lateral malleolus fractures
- Bimalleolar fractures
- Trimalleolar fractures
- Posterior malleolus fractures
- Talus fractures
- Pilon fractures
- Syndesmotic injuries
Ankle Sprains or Strains
Even if you don’t break any bones in a car accident, there is a high risk of spraining or straining your ankle. This happens when the soft tissues of your ankle get damaged in a car accident. Those soft tissues include the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. They are responsible for connecting and supporting your bones.
While people commonly use the terms sprain and strain interchangeably, there is a technical difference between the two. An ankle strain affects tendons, while a sprain affects the ligaments. In either case, the injury occurs because the tendons or ligaments are stretched beyond their capacity. This can happen if your foot gets stuck under the seat or behind a pedal.
Achilles Tendonitis or Tears
Your Achilles tendon connects to your calf muscle and helps stabilize your foot and keeps you upright while walking. Minor tears can heal on their own, but more severe injuries may require surgery.
Depending on the extent of the car accident, parts of the car may overheat, or small fires can originate from the engine. This can lead to burn injuries on the feet, ankles, or other parts of the body.
Cuts and Puncture Wounds
Some of the most common foot and ankle injuries are cuts and puncture wounds. A piece of glass or metal may poke through your shoes and clothing, causing punctures or cuts to your skin. Of course, if you are wearing closed shoes during the collision, this may protect your feet from severe injury. However, if your feet and legs are exposed, the risk for injury is higher.
Bruises are common foot injuries but also the least serious. Bruises do not necessarily require medical treatment, although you will have to take care not to aggravate the area of the bruise while it heals.
In severe cases, your feet or ankles may be crushed during an accident. This could lead to amputation of the severely injured limbs.
This foot injury is the result of severe trauma. To better understand the condition, note that your feet contain various small compartments with tendons, nerves, and muscles. If any part of your foot gets broken, fractured, punctured, or crushed, it can lead to internal bleeding and pressure. Your nerves will become compacted, and your foot will swell. This condition can be extremely painful.
Long-Term Effects Such as Pain or Arthritis
Some of the foot injuries mentioned above can lead to long-term complications if left untreated for long periods. The development of arthritis, plantar fasciitis, and chronic pain are potential outcomes of neglect. Aside from accident victims, people with flat feet, poorly fitting shoes, or an improper walking gait can develop long-term problems by not addressing their pain.
Treating Foot and Ankle Injuries from Car Accidents
The treatment for foot and ankle injuries after a car accident will largely depend on the type of injury. The following are some of the potential treatments:
Rest and Elevation
Your doctor may advise against putting excess pressure on your ankle or foot while it heals. This means having to rest your feet altogether, as you should avoid putting weight on the injured foot. This is a recommendation that applies to all foot injuries, from an ankle sprain to a seriously broken bone.
Depending on the injury, your doctor may also suggest elevating your leg while you rest.
Ice and/or Heat
Applying a hot or cold compress is another common home treatment. These can help reduce swelling and pain in the area of the injury.
In the case of an ankle sprain or a similarly minor injury from a car accident, your doctor may also suggest compression. Using an elastic bandage can reduce swelling without compromising circulation.
Many of these injuries can cause severe pain or at least be painful enough to interfere with your daily life. To address this, your doctor may prescribe strong pain medication or suggest some over-the-counter painkillers.
Casts or Braces
If you break your foot or ankle in a car accident, your doctor will likely use a cast to help heal the injury after it is treated. In the case of a minor fracture, you may simply need a special removable boot or brace instead of a full cast.
Before placing your foot or ankle in a cast, your doctor may need to apply the reduction procedure. This is the process of manipulating the broken or fractured bones back into position. Sometimes, a sedative, general anesthesia, or muscle relaxant is necessary to manage the patient’s pain.
Physical therapy is a common treatment for a full range of foot injuries. In the case of a severe ankle sprain, it can help you regain movement and strength. If your foot breaks and needs to be in a cast, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to support your recovery process when the cast comes off.
Some of the more severe foot or ankle injuries can sometimes require surgery. For example, some extreme breaks may require surgery for realignment of the bones, possibly using tools like metal screws. You may even need surgery after a sprain or strain if the ligament doesn’t heal properly.
Early Diagnosis Is Important
If you suspect that your ankle or foot has been injured after a car accident, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor right away. The healing process does not begin until your injury is diagnosed and your doctor determines the ideal course of treatment.
This is why it is a good idea to see a doctor after a car accident, even if you don’t think you are injured. Only medical practitioners can confirm if you are out of the woods. If you notice any pain, tenderness, swelling, or any other symptoms of injury, you should immediately schedule an appointment. Remember that some of the injuries mentioned earlier can worsen over time or even lead to more serious issues, like chronic pain.
Why Choose the Experienced Doctors at Neuro Injury Care Institute
At Neuro Injury Care Institute, you have access to highly experienced doctors and staff in the Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, or Queens. Our team has treated numerous patients with foot pain injuries from car accidents, sports injuries, and other causes. This extensive experience enables us to effectively and quickly diagnose your injury. Once there is a proper diagnosis, we can begin treatment.
We can conduct a range of tests to determine the injury, then we use our expertise to determine the best course of treatment. We also accept all types of insurance, including no-fault, PIP (personal injury protection), and worker’s compensation. addition to treating your ankle or foot injuries from car accidents, we can also treat a range of secondary injuries or conditions unrelated to the accident. In so doing, we provide you with all the care you need in one place.
Our team will do everything possible to not only help you heal but also ensure that the recovery process goes as smoothly as possible. With locations in the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, our care institute is highly accessible.
Your foot and ankle health starts at Neuro Injury Care Institute. Call or schedule your appointment today!