Home > Blog > Treating & Preventing Foot and Ankle Soft Tissue Injuries

Trauma causes soft tissue injuries that affect muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Such injuries can happen over time due to overuse of the specific region or suddenly, i.e., when force is exerted all at once as in ankle and foot sprains. Bad falls, slips, faulty posture during workout routines, and ill-fitting footwear are just some of the causes of gradual and/or sudden soft tissue injuries. What can you do to prevent them?

Soft Injury Types and Prevention

As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure,” and the same applies where soft tissue injuries are concerned. There are 3 grades of soft injury severity:
Grade 1 (Mild) – Usually caused by overuse and presents itself through tenderness and swelling of the affected area.
Grade 2 (Moderate) – Usually results from tearing, and can cause pain when weight bearing.
Grade 3 (Severe) – These are soft tissue injuries that have complete tears and result in much longer recovery time which are characterized with a significant amount of swelling, pain, and instability.

Foot and ankle injuries can be prevented by:
Use of supportive footwear – For individuals with high arches, insoles and personalized arch support can be added to footwear to ease weight distribution. For those who lead an active lifestyle, shoes with more shock absorption and proper foot support is optimal.
Mobility training and strengthening exercises – Best done under professional guidance, mobility training and exercises that target foot and ankle strength can help individuals who feel unstable or weak in those areas. Improving your range of motion and building ankle/foot strength can lessen the risks of dealing with soft tissue injuries.

What to Do When You Have Soft Tissue Injuries

If you suspect soft tissue injuries, the best course of action is to book an appointment and have it professionally evaluated to determine the type of injury you have, help alleviate, and provide lasting relief from your injury. However, if you aren’t able to visit your doctor immediately, it is advised to use the RICE method.

The RICE method stands for: rest, ice, compression, elevation. In conjunction with the RICE method, it is advised to reduce the use and mobility of the affected foot or ankle to avoid further trauma as the body takes its time to repair the damaged tissue.

The amount of pain and range of motion will depend on the severity of your soft tissue injury, as will the time you need to fully recover. This is why professional assessment is imperative so you can determine what’s best to achieve full recovery. It is important to note that while pain relief can be achieved through the RICE method, it doesn’t have a set healing time and multiple factors can come into play. Ruling out factors that hinder healing can best be determined by booking an exam with us.

For Grade 2 and 3 soft tissue injuries, we can determine how much trauma your foot and ankle is dealing with and what can be done to aid recovery. Note that Grade 2 and 3 injuries can actually take much longer to recover than broken bones! This is because of the elastic nature of muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and for Grade 3 injuries in particular, the severity can even lead to permanent change in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the affected area.

If not properly addressed and consistently taken care of, even Grade 1 injuries can turn into causes of chronic pain. To avoid this, a consultation with your chiropodist or podiatrist is strongly advised. You can save yourself from the pain and hassle of restricted movement and have better chances of restoring your soft tissue with proper support. Now accepting new patients in Collingwood – book your appointment online today!