Foot and ankle injuries are extremely common emergencies. Broken bones, dislocations, sprains, contusions, infections and other serious injuries to the lower legs and feet occur every single day.
Pain and swelling on the outside of the ankle (sprains/strains), pain down the front of the lower leg (shin splints), pain, redness, bruising, and swelling (fracture/break) are all signs and symptoms that you should have your foot or leg closely evaluated by a health care professional such as a Pedorthist, Podiatrist or Chiropodist.
Sprains and strains typically happen when something causes the foot to turn inward violently (such as misstep off a curb or during a sport or activity), shin splints result from repetitive overuse of the leg muscles, and fractures or breaks can be cause by overuse, sudden increased activity level, or a violent trauma to the lower leg/foot.
Seek early attention if you sustain a foot or ankle injury. Rest, ice, compression and elevation are early steps you can take to limit the damage done, but you will want to get to a specialist sooner than later. Clean cuts and leave blisters unopened if they are not painful or swollen. Remove any foreign materials in the skin (slivers, splinters, sand, glass), but seek medical attention for anything deeply embedded. For breaks, you may need to realign bones, immobilization (cast), or possibly surgery. Most moderate to severe ankle or foot injury will require athletic therapy or physiotherapy, and possibly orthotics for long-term control and prevention of further damage. Bracing, aircast walking boots and a variety of other medical tools can be used to enhance your recovery.