Foot and ankle dislocations are common injuries that result from trauma. If there is enough force, a direct trauma can cause a bone to break, or fracture. But when this force is directed around a joint, it can cause one segment of the joint to become misaligned, or dislocated. While the shoulder is the most commonly dislocated joint in the human body, the joints of the foot and ankle are not far behind. If left untreated, these injuries can cause severe pain and disability.
Timing is critical for proper management of foot and ankle dislocations. After 24 hours, swelling around the injured joint sets in and makes the bones more difficult to relocate. Additionally, the ligaments that normally maintain the alignment of the joint may become locked in their new position. Closed manipulation, also referred to as closed reduction, of the involved joint is the first line of treatment to re align the joint into its normal position. This is often done only after administration of an anesthetic block to minimize pain during manipulation. Once the joint is realigned, it is critical to keep the foot immobilized so that the bones do not re-dislocate. If the injury cannot be reduced through manipulation, surgical intervention may be necessary. This usually involves using a wire or pin to re align the bones of the joint.
Do not underestimate the importance of a properly aligned foot. As mentioned, timing is crucial for proper management of these devastating injuries. After any bone or joint injury, do not hesitate to make an appointment with the skilled doctors of Advanced Podiatry!